AEP-PSO continue power line burying work
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
1/08/13 at 7:26 AM
BARTLESVILLE - The final phase of burying power lines in some older Bartlesville neighborhoods begins this month, while similar work in Tulsa continues, an AEP-PSO spokesman said Monday.
Stan Whiteford is careful to point out that these projects are not part of a widespread effort to convert customers from existing overhead to underground systems.
"We're not kick-starting some massive program," he said. "We don't take them on for aesthetics; they're always some operational issue."
The $3 million Bartlesville project was started in 2011.
It will finish up with 80 homes in the College Heights and Crestview areas.
American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma hopes to complete that loop by the end of March.
Power lines for 200 Bartlesville homes were buried in earlier phases.
The last phase will be conducted in a neighborhood just north of Bartlesville High School, but that will wait until completion of the current work south of the school.
"We need to retire an old, 4-kilovolt substation and upgrade to a 13-KV substation," Whiteford said. "Basically that's why the whole project is taking place."
Putting power lines underground is standard procedure in new developments.
Whiteford said the utility buries lines in old neighborhoods for logistical reasons such as capacity upgrades and accessibility issues.
The latter is what drives an ongoing project in Tulsa's Crow Creek subdivision near the Brookside area, he said.
AEP-PSO also is planning work on an underground effort for a small group of homes near 26th Street and Lewis Avenue.
"We have a serious ravine in that area," Whiteford said. "That is an accessibility issue."
Crews will bore routes for the underground lines and replace older meters with radio frequency units. A green box, which replaces the overhead transformer, will be placed in the front yard at about one out of every four houses, he said.
The cost of burying power lines averages about $750,000 per mile.
AEP-PSO will recover its costs from the reliability, vegetation and undergrounding rider on its billing, charging about $1.95 per month for the average customer.
"We've got to stagger them (the projects) to account for budgeting and funding," Whiteford said.
Many voices called for statewide undergrounding in the months following the December 2007 ice storm, which killed 29 people and cut power to more than 600,000 homes. An Oklahoma Corporation Commission report released in June 2008, however, estimated that just burying most distribution lines in the state would cost about $30 billion.
Original Print Headline: Some power lines going underground
Rod Walton 918-581-8457
A crew under contract to AEP-PSO works on a power line burying project in Tulsa. Courtesy