New, bigger power system for Vanderhoof by October 2012

Mayor says we can compete to attract industry with bigger substation that will double facilities’ existing capacity

Apryl Veld

Omineca Express

Vanderhoof’s electrical grid will get a major upgrade possibly around October of 2012.

BC Hydro unveiled plans to the district last week for a much bigger  substation and new transformer that will double this area’s power capacity. Vanderhoof District’s committee of the whole met with Hydro’s go-to guy last week so they could see plans for big changes to the existing local power grid.

“One thing we know about Vanderhoof is that we are slightly over capacity, using more power than the substation was designed for, so we are in the process of trying to correct that,” BC Hydro’s  Bob Gammer explained.

“We’re going to upgrade the capacity of the Vanderhoof substation so that there should be spare capacity at the substation for approximately ten years,” the Hydro spokesperson told Omineca Express.

BC Hydro has been in the process of planning this for a while and will begin to construct the new installation by spring of this year he also noted.

“We sat down with Vanderhoof (district) council to show them where we’re at,”  Gammer said.

He noted that the existing system doesn’t allow for any major expansion for industry, or population growth, a scenario that the Nechako region is on the cusp of seeing happen.

“In the winter we’re seeing usage that is approximately two megawatts over (the area’s) designed capacity,” the Prince George power planner  said.

Mayor of Vanderhoof, Gerry Thiessen concurred that it’s crucial for our area to get a jump on expanding electricity volume.

“The whole upgrade of the transfer station is incredibly important,” Thiessen noted, “we have been running at almost full capacity for many of our industrial users.”

He said the power upgrade would let the district put out signals to business that Vanderhoof is a well-equipped place to set up shop.

“When it comes to new industry, we want to make sure that they have the same opportunities (for powering their operations in Vanderhoof as they would in Houston or Burns Lake, and that’s been a concern of ours for a little while.”

Thiessen said there will be no costs to the community on this as Hydro is picking up the tab for the improvements, adding,

“It would be difficult for new industry to come into town without getting this new transformer into place.”