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AltaLink crews turn tricky situation into smooth sailing

Spring weather keeps everyone on their toes, and it’s no different for AltaLink’s transmission line crews, made up of approximately 30 highly skilled linemen working out of the Calgary and Edmonton areas. On Sunday, April 29 these crews responded to a tricky situation about 40 kilometres northwest of Provost in central eastern Alberta. 

AltaLink's 749L NW of Provost

Rising waters from the spring melt combined with heavy winds in the area wreaked havoc on our 75-kilometre transmission line that is partly located in a wetland, pulling down one structure completely and compromising two others on either side of it. This caused the line to trip at close to 10 a.m. on April 29 and shed power to almost 1,000 customers. 

“When our crews got to site to check out what had happened to the line, they knew immediately this was an extremely difficult situation because of our inability to access the structures,” said Henri Bourbeau, manager out of our north office who led the field response for AltaLink. “We figured out fairly quickly we’d need to rebuild the line around the wetland and started putting a plan into motion.”

Working sunrise to sunset, the crews ordered and received equipment and materials, set 10 new power poles around the wetland, strung conductor (wire) along the new structures and energized the line a day ahead of schedule. They completed this work safely and with great care to the environment.

“Top of mind in these situations is the safety of our crews and the public, and of course getting the lights back on for customers as soon as possible,” added Bourbeau. “We work closely with FortisAlberta across our service territory and their team pulled together an incredible response to get customers back online quickly.”

As the AltaLink crews were repairing the line, FortisAlberta was working on mitigation plans to restore power to customers, which were a mix of farm, residential, commercial and oilfield sites. By Monday, April 30, all farm, residential and commercial customers were restored through re-routing on the distribution system, and all other customers were restored by Tuesday, May 2, some of which through generators FortisAlberta brought in from High River and Acheson.

Click here to read FortisAlberta’s account of the outage.

Thank you to our crews and everyone who works every day to keep the lights on across our province.

AltaLink's 749L NW of Provost
AltaLink's 749L NW of Provost