VELCO preps for improvements

ORLEANS COUNTY – The Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) power lines and poles in the area may not up to safety standards and potentially out of compliance. A proposed work schedule is underway and VELCO is planning to file for a Certificate of Public good this month.VELCO officials held an informational public meeting Monday at the Newport Municipal building. The meeting included a VELCO team, but few others showed up. Members of the Jay Planning Commission, Developer Tony Tanguay, and members of the press attended to hear about plans and ask questions.VECLO owns and operates Vermont’s high voltage transmission grid.The North American Electric Reliability Corporation issued a recommendation to all utility owners to inspect and verify line conditions. VELCO decided to remove the K41 line as a safety precaution after determining the line could be out of compliance. The K41 line spans from Irasburg to Newport, Richford, and finally to Highgate.Some emergency work was done in 2011 that included replacing 12 structures and installing three new structures. This work allowed the K41 line to return to service but at a lower load. Additional work is needed. The majority of work will take place from Richford to Highgate, however work on the lines and poles in Orleans Country will also occur. Modifications and some structure replacements will be made.Developer Tony Tanguay asked why VELCO wants to move his sign, which is under VECLO lines, as a safety precaution. Tanguay questioned why the lines couldn’t be raised rather that moving his sign. VELCO agreed to meet with Tanguay soon to work on a solution.Jay planners questioned work near town land in case future development occurs.VELCO officials also warned about changing the elevation of the land under lines for safety reasons.VELCO hopes to begin work in the spring of 2013 and to finish the project by the fall of 2013. Officials said they will work in a way to minimize interfering with agriculture.