May 28, 2009

Shared Labor Expected to Save City $100,000 on Electric Upgrade

A joint agreement between the City of Memphis and Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company will save the city nearly $100,000 in expenses for a planned system upgrade to be installed this summer.

In a special meeting May 20th, the Memphis City Council voted to enter an agreement with VantagePoint Solutions, Inc. for underground installation of up to 10,000 feet of four-inch conduit. The move will ultimately allow the city to bury power lines in areas with limited aerial access or past problem spots with trees or other outage causing concerns.

The company currently is working in Memphis providing boring services for Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company, which is implementing a $4 million system upgrade, replacing aerial copper lines with buried fiber optic lines.

Because the company is already in town, working on an existing agreement, the cost of the city joining the project is approximately half what it would have been if the city had entered such a contract on its own. The city will pay approximately $9 per foot for the conduit and installation.

Superintendent Dave Kittle stated the line boring will be the first step in a series of upgrades that will be completed over the next three to five years.

The city crews will ultimately pull the new electric line through the conduit, which will lead to the abandonment of the existing aerial lines. These will be removed and recycled, and utility poles will also be removed and reused where applicable.

Kittle pointed out that the project will allow the city to replace some of the older system lines, instead connecting these areas to the city’s newer transmission system. In the end this will save customers, as the new lines experience less energy loss in transmission. By burying the lines, the city also avoids the added expense, that transition would have created. The new lines require larger cross bars and insulators for the power poles. Those costs will be eliminated in these areas.

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