Written by Kelly Kaczala
November 20, 2009
Oregon and Toledo Edison have reached an agreement on plans to extend an electric transmission line to serve a new substation at St. Charles-Mercy Hospital.
At a council meeting on Oct. 26, Trent Smith, regional president of Toledo Edison, said discussions with the city were at an impasse due to the city’s desire to have poles and lines that are aesthetically appealing, which increased the cost of the project.
The city had initially preferred an underground line, but it was later deemed too expensive. Steel poles, which don’t have unsightly guide wires that wood poles have for support, were also considered expensive.
Public Service Director Paul Roman said the city and Edison agreed to install more steel poles, particularly at the intersection of Navarre Avenue and I-280, and at Wheeling and I-280.
For the rest of the 11 poles it will take to string the transmission line to St. Charles, a combination of steel and laminate poles will be installed, said Roman.
“Laminate looks like a wood pole as well,” he said. “There will be only one wooden pole with guide wires. That will be next to the CSX underpass on the north side of Navarre.”
The new line will tap into the existing transmission line, which starts at the CSX underpass, at the east side of Sunoco, according to Roman. It will cross I-280, to Munding, to Wheeling, then to St. Charles-Mercy Hospital.
Roman sent a memo on Nov. 13 to the mayor, Administrator Ken Filipiak, and city council that stated there was an agreement with Edison as to how the distribution of the power lines are going to come from Toledo into Oregon and ultimately to St. Charles.
“I don’t think any member of council came forward and objected to the type of agreement that Mr. Roman has finally come to with First Energy,” Council President Mike Sheehy said at a committee of the whole meeting last Monday. “First Energy has been a tough customer to bargain with.”
“It’s probably the best compromise,” said Roman. “There’s been a lot of discussion. St. Charles has been waiting for this. It does take into account some aesthetics as well as a reliable power source to the hospital. I do believe it’s the best. The idea of steel poles, having them around the interchange, is a little bit more attractive than wood poles. That’s my opinion. I think at this time, Edison would like to proceed with the work. I am willing and ready to sign a permit for this work. I know the mayor had wished for all steel poles, but there’s a cost to them as well, so we have to consider that. I do think this is the best compromise for all parties.”
Councilman Jerry Peach said he attended a meeting on Nov. 6 with Mayor Marge Brown, representatives from St. Charles and Toledo Edison.
“I was afraid we might fall short of reaching a workable compromise. So I was very happy, when seeing this memo, that Toledo Edison and Mr. Roman were able to reach a compromise, which is very workable for the city, Toledo Edison and St. Charles Hospital. I’m just happy we could get this line going to one of our major industrial and corporate citizens in the city,” said Peach.
The need for a substation to St. Charles is governed by one of Edison’s tariffs. When a customer uses up to a certain amount of power, they are required to take electricity service at a higher voltage. In March, 2008, Edison moved forward with an agreement with the hospital to design and build a transmission line for the new substation to accommodate an increase in demand for electricity. Discussions with the city started in the fall of 2008.
Roman said a pole located too close to Otter Creek at Navarre will be moved five feet further west, said Roman.
“They’ll make it about 10 feet deeper to accommodate any future bridge replacements. The pole won’t have to be supported, nor would I have to relocate the creek to replace the bridge. So it will accommodate a future bridge replacement,” said Roman.