Michigan Avenue electric line project moving forward

Cleveland Utilities upgrade lines in Cleveland, Tenn.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - A Cleveland Utilities plan to strengthen power infrastructure in the Michigan Avenue community, which includes Whirlpool and the Cleveland Regional Jetport, is well into the design phase.

The project, which received a $250,000 grant through the Community Development Block Grant Supplemental Disaster Recovery Fund, calls for building an electrical tie line along Peach Orchard Hill Road, from Benton Pike to Michigan Avenue. The area suffered damage during the April 2011 storms.

In a recent meeting, electric division officials discussed the project's complexity with utility board members.

photo Cleveland Utilities upgrade lines in Cleveland, Tenn.

Electrical engineer Jeff Luther described his use of computer-aided design and drafting software that allowed him to plug in thousands of GPS points and an assortment of variables - including terrain, structures, roads, weather and electrical loads - to determine optimal pole placements.

The software addresses "virtually everything that has to do with the pole construction" and allows users to determine the effects of external and internal stresses upon the poles, wires, and transmission components, he said.

The program also informs users of national safety code updates to assist with compliance matters related to road and building clearances, Luther said.

During his presentation, Luther demonstrated a conceptual vision of part of the Peach Orchard Hill Road line by merging schematic graphics with an aerial photograph of the project area.

"This [software] program has saved Cleveland Utilities in the area of consulting fees for design work," said Bart Borden, vice president of the electric division.

Borden had told board members earlier the new line will extend more than two miles and use steel poles. The purpose of the Peach Orchard Hill Road tie line is to provide service redundancy to the area's industrial, commercial and residential customers, he said.

Cleveland Utilities will contribute $296,622 in labor to complete the project, which has been estimated to cost $546,622, according to records.

The project is estimated to take 18 months to complete, Borden said.

In other business, utility officials discussed the results of an analysis to determine how and when to convert the city's street lighting fixtures to LED technology.

Based on significant losses associated with replacing working infrastructural investments, Cleveland Utilities has recommended the city only replace failed lighting fixtures with new LED equipment instead of implementing the wholesale conversion of the utility's 5,358 existing non-LED street lights, Borden said. New fixtures will also call for new LED components.

Replacing all the working non-LED fixtures would amount to an $872,465 cost in lost investment to Cleveland Utilities and an annual increased cost of $137,768 due to the LED fixture installation.

When compared to an estimated $150,625 in annual energy savings for a 100 percent LED system, the annual payback was projected to take 68 years, Borden said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.