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SaskPower invests in rural infrastructure

SaskPower's ongoing plan to replace power poles in rural Saskatchewan continues.
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Saskatchewan has more than a million wooden power poles, some of which have been in service since the 1960s. SaskPower has an infrastructure program to replace many of these in the next year.
WESTERN PRODUCER — Rural powerlines across Saskatchewan are being replaced more quickly in 2021-22 due to SaskPower’s $272 million investment in aging infrastructure.

That amount is 62 percent higher than SaskPower’s five-year average.

“So we have, for example, more than a million wood power poles in this province, we have thousands of kilometres of transmission and distribution lines. Some of it’s been out there since the 1960s,” said Joel Cherry, a SaskPower spokesperson. “And so it requires a pretty substantial investment, to keep that up and running to make sure that our customers, you know, in rural areas especially can continue to get reliable service, we’ve really put an emphasis on that this year.”

Construction for this project began in the summer of 2021 and spans the province. The construction includes replacing old poles, and moving poles when necessary, including out of farmers’ fields.

“We have a lot of blind contacts between farm equipment and power lines every year, especially during seeding and harvest. And so having those lines moved will improve safety and having the new line filled will improve reliability,” Cherry said.

“Certainly, it is something that farmers will see a benefit from.”

Cherry said SaskPower often receives calls from people in rural areas, asking for better power. Often, only one line goes into a community, meaning if that line has an outage than the entire community has an outage.

He said people in rural Saskatchewan should be aware when SaskPower will be working in their area.

“And in some cases, when we’re doing live rebuilds, there has to be planned power outages to make sure we can do the work safely. But whenever we have manpower, we make sure to communicate that to our customers as well. So they’re ready when it happens.”