PSNH Updates Ongoing Work on Underground Cables

On June 17 at a meeting of the Town Council, representatives of Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) were asked by the Town Council to keep residents appraised of work the electricity utility plans to do, after unexplained power outages were experienced by some neighborhoods.

PSNH agreed to do so, and last week, spokesperson Elizabeth LaRocca provided the town with a list of work to be done in town. The list outlines 15 undergrounding projects estimated at $1.9 million that are scheduled for completion in 2013.

PSNH plans three types of projects: repairs, rejuvenation and replacement.
Listed is the status of these projects, as of mid-August:
• Cable Replacement Projects – Under Design or in progress: Arrow Head Estates – 10 sections on Forest Road, Hemlock Street, Oakwood Street, Arrow Head Road and Spruce Street; Red Deer Road – trench work by RH White; Royal Lane (four sections) – should be done mid-October; Sherwood Road (four sections) – RH White doing trench work; Wellington Woods/Tokanel Drive (one section) – under design; Wimbleton Estates – five sections on Wimbleton Drive, Everts Street, McEnroe Drive and Sherwood Road – RH White doing trench work on McEnroe Drive; Wimbleton Estates – four sections of cable replacements on Davis Drive, should be done mid-October.

Cable Projects – To Be Completed by Year End: Wimbleton Estates – one section on Connors Street, with cable rejuvenation in front section; Davis Drive (repairs); Holton Circle (repairs).
Completed cable projects as of mid-August are: Arrow Head Estates – 21 sections on Forest Street, Evergreen Circle, Hemlock Street, and Spruce Street (rejuvenation); Woodland Village –one section on Constitution Drive and three sections on Capital Hill Drive (rejuvenation); Woodland Village – one section on Capital Hill Drive (rejuvenation); Century Village – two sections on Winding Pond Road (repairs); Fieldstone Drive at Mountain Home Estates (replacement); Olde Country Village – Old Country Road and sections on South Road (replacement).

Cable repairs are typically done by PSNH line and construction crews. The existing cable is dug up and repaired. In some cases, equipment must also be replaced or upgraded. Once the repairs are made, the area is re-landscaped.

Cable rejuvenation is performed by a company that injects a fluid into the cable to reinforce it, extending its life for 30 years. The treated cable is guaranteed to last for 20 years and comes with a warranty. No excavation work or temporary overhead facilities are required, so the work is the least intrusive option. Not all underground cable can be treated using this process. In 2012, Wildwood Road, Holstein Avenue, and Thornton Road were some of the areas in town that received this treatment.

Cable replacement occurs when underground cable has reached the end of its useful life. The new cable is installed in protective conduit to extend its life. In certain cases, temporary poles and wires must be erected while the underground system is being rebuilt.

PSNH contracts the excavation work. Once the contractor has dug the trenches and installed the conduit, PSNH line crews can install the cable. In some cases, other equipment such as transformers are also replaced. The area is re-landscaped, and any temporary overhead equipment is removed.

According to PSNH, Londonderry was one of the first New Hampshire communities to mandate that utilities in future developments be underground. As a consequence, Londonderry has large amounts of aging underground electric cable, dating from the 1970s and 1980s.

Starting in about 2005, PSNH’s maintenance plans incorporated formal programs to address these older underground developments. Two of the earliest cable replacement projects in Londonderry took place on Shasta Drive and Rolling Ridge Road. In 2006, approximately $1 million was spent on these two developments.

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