Power Distribution Lines

Res #: 23-05A
Number: 23
Year: 2005
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskPower

Resolution 23-05A

WHEREAS, approximately 35,000 kilometers of underground power distribution lines were installed in various areas throughout the province under the Rural Underground Distribution Program; and

WHEREAS, SaskPower’s current Directive #97-03-2.3 stipulates that single phase overhead lines shall be built on road allowances, even though existing service in the area is provided through an underground distribution system; and

WHEREAS, such construction creates potential safety hazards and maintenance concerns, and is not consistent with prior construction practices or policies nor esthetically acceptable;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the directives of SaskPower be amended to include a municipal approval process for any overhead line in an area where underground service is available.

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

This resolution in part notes, "…that the directives be amended to include a municipal approval process for any overhead lines in an area where underground service is available." For more than 25 years, SaskPower has been constructing distribution lines in the road allowance. This minimizes interference with farming operation in general and minimizes the chances of line contact, thus providing a safer farming environment. SaskPower submits line placement plans to a Rural Municipality (RM) when the line is to be placed in a road allowance under their jurisdiction. This is to allow for comments and engage in discussions to minimize any impact.

SaskPower has the right to use the public road rights-of-way for line construction subject to the approval of the Department of Highways. The Department of Highways has empowered the RM's to deal with SaskPower on roads under RM jurisdiction. If there is disagreement between SaskPower and a RM, the Department of Highways can intervene. The overarching agreement between SaskPower and the Department of Highways gives SaskPower the right to build in a road right-of-way by advising the RM of the plan. Formal approval from the RM if not required.

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 existing overhead facilities and carrying out maintenance and replacement when required. All new rural services are installed by burying the primary (high voltage) or secondary (low voltage) service within the farm yard work area. Any new primary overhead lines are built in the road allowances, with appropriate clearances, and not in the fields. I trust I have addressed your concerns.

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please contact Mr. Zoltan Bodas, Manager, Materials & Engineering at (306) 566-3303.