Burying of Power Lines

Res #: 23-04M
Number: 23
Year: 2004
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskPower

Resolution No. 23-04M

WHEREAS, power poles in the middle of fields have caused deaths and serious accidents; and

WHEREAS, the poles and the power lines present a hazard for those working around and under them with equipment;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby SaskPower to bury all of the rural power lines.

Response from Honourable Frank Quennell, Q.C., Minister Responsible for SaskPower:

The Rural Underground Distribution (RUD) Program, replacing the overhead rural 14,400 volt lines and facilities with underground facilities, was discontinued after 1995 as the cost was no longer sustainable. Efforts and resources were redirected to maximizing the life of existing overhead facilities and carrying out maintenance and replacement when required.

SaskPower continued to be concerned about farm safety and put into place a program to remove existing overhead lines in farm yards and defined work areas. Experience demonstrated that most farming accidents involved equipment contacting power lines in these areas. SaskPower additionally has in place a program to replace deteriorated poles at a current cost of $10 million annually. The majority of the poles replaces are in the 14,400 volt distribution system. A

ll new rural services are installed by burying primary (high voltage) or secondary (low voltage) service within the farm yard work area. Any new primary overhead lines are built in road allowances with appropriate clearances, and not in the fields. This avoids the majority of opportunity for contact with farming operations. The estimated cost to bury the remaining lines associated with farm distribution is approximately $575 million in 2004 costs. SaskPower would require a significant rate increase to fund an expenditure of this magnitude.