November 12, 2019

Madison plans for electric upgrades - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Madison plans for electric upgrades

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Posted: Friday, November 1, 2019 2:56 pm

Madison's city commissioners set into motion earlier this week plans to organize a 2020 electrical grid improvement project in a 12-block area in the southeastern part of the city.

Brad Lawrence, city utility director, described next year's improvements as "our standard upgrade project," similar to annual grid upgrades performed during the last 15 years in Madison. Neighborhoods powered by overhead and underground 4.16 kilovolt distribution circuitry will have wiring converted to 13.8 kV underground circuitry.

"This will be our last one," Lawrence said of Madison's annual improvement projects that placed old, overhead wiring underground.

On Monday, the city commissioners approved hiring DGR Engineering of Rock Rapids, Iowa, to prepare a preliminary circuitry plan, detailed cost estimate and project schedule. An estimate for the upgrade project amounts to $675,000, which includes material, construction and engineering expenses.

The 12-block area is bordered by Lincoln and Division avenues and N. 3rd and S. 1st streets.

As part of the project, electricians will replace overhead secondary circuitry and place it underground. Workers will replace old concentric cable in various neighborhoods because it has suffered multiple failures. According to Lawrence, some of the current wiring was constructed with insulation susceptible to aging problems.

Madison Electric Department staff will likely perform some improvement work, including cable terminations, meter replacements, riser installations and cutover transitions. Lawrence said workers would also remove some abandoned wiring still in place in south Madison.

Mayor Marshall Dennert asked Lawrence during the commission meeting about installing fiber-optic communications infrastructure as part of the 2020 project. Lawrence said that possibility was under consideration. Installed at a future date, fiber-optic lines could assist the municipal Electric Department in operating "smart meters" and an advanced load-management system. According to Lawrence, city officials could add the installation of fiber-optic conduit to the construction contract as an option in the 2020 project.

The city plans to pay DGR Engineering $69,800 for its work. The engineers are scheduled to complete their preliminary designs in December. The contractor bidding is scheduled in April.

LED Christmas lights

The commissioners approved funding for the city Parks Department to spend up to $4,500 on new LED Christmas lights and related equipment that will help decorate Egan Ave. during the holiday season.

Mike McGillivray, city parks supervisor, spoke to the commissioners about the purchase. The Parks Department wants to purchase 2,600 white LED bulbs, a quantity of bulk electrical line, and 122 plugs and sockets to create new lighting for Madison's downtown holiday display.

The LED bulbs cost $1.07 each, and McGillivray described the LED lamps as more durable than other types of lamps. LED lamps use less electrical power than incandescent or fluorescent lights. They also possess a longer operating lifespan.

The initial sales order from Temple Display Ltd. of Chicago, Ill., indicated a total cost of $3,945.70 for the lamps, wiring and other equipment.

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