BC Hydro has completed a $65 million upgrade to the transmission network in Merritt, $5 million under budget. The upgrades will help meet growing electricity demand being driven by economic growth. It involved building a new substation, making upgrades to an existing substation and putting up a new transmission line.
"Reliable power is essential to the growth of our community," said Jackie Tegart, MLA for Fraser Nicola. "Not only will this project provide the power we need for new business and industry, but construction also contributed to our local economy. More than 100 jobs were created during construction and Merritt-based companies worked on key elements like clearing for the new line, building new access roads and constructing foundations for transmission structures."
Construction began in 2013. BC Hydro has built a new 35-km, 138-kV transmission line to replace an existing 69-kV line. The new line runs between the existing Highland substation and a new substation — the Merritt Substation — on Spring Bank Avenue. The new substation was built at the site of an existing, lower-capacity substation.
"We're expecting demand for electricity to increase significantly over the next 30 years in the Lower Nicola, and these upgrades will help meet that demand," said Walter Udell, vice president of project delivery. "We have hundreds of capital projects underway across the province. BC Hydro is investing, on average, $2.4 billion a year over the next 10 years in the system to ensure reliable power is there when British Columbians need it."
BC Hydro used local companies for construction support through the project:
- The Lower Nicola Indian Band provided forestry engineering and environmental monitoring services and helped with clearing and building access roads for the construction of transmission structures
- LNB Construction was involved in building access roads and the foundations for transmission structures
- Norgaard Ready-Mix Ltd. provided concrete
- Sanders and Co. was involved in building transmission foundations and providing gravel.
The new line and substation began providing power to Merritt this past weekend.