News Release

Construction underway for BC Hydro’s Interior to Lower Mainland Transmission Line

Vancouver – A new 500-kilovolt, 247-kilometre transmission line from Merritt to Coquitlam that will improve power delivery to homes and businesses in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island is now under construction.

Work crews are currently improving access roads, clearing the line’s right-of-way and installing tower foundations. During its three years of construction, the project will create economic opportunities for local vendors and suppliers and generate about 540 person-years of employment.

The project will expand the capacity of BC Hydro’s transmission system that delivers power from BC Hydro’s generating facilities in the North and Southern Interior to communities in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island – currently totaling 1.4 million industrial, commercial and residential customers.

This transmission system was built in the mid-1970s and needs to be upgraded to meet future demand for power due to B.C.’s growing population and economy – particularly during winter months when electricity use peaks. In addition, the project will also improve the capacity and stability of the province’s overall transmission system.

Quotes
Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines:
“The Interior to Lower Mainland project is the largest expansion to B.C.'s transmission system in close to 20 years. This project will generate significant regional employment as well as ensure a reliable supply of electricity to attract new investment to the province – benefiting B.C. families and businesses.”

Douglas Horne, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA
“I’m glad to see this investment in key provincial infrastructure. The power grid is vital to not only our day-to-day lives, but our continued economic growth.”

Greg Reimer, Executive Vice President, Transmission & Distribution, BC Hydro:
“Over the next 20 years, the population of the Lower Mainland is expected to grow to 3.4 million, and more people mean more homes and businesses needing power. While the transmission system that brings energy to the Lower Mainland continues to operate reliably today, it is nearing capacity and needs to be upgraded so that communities in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island will continue to enjoy reliable power.”

Facts:

  • The Interior to Lower Mainland project includes construction of a new 247-kilometre, 500-kilovolt transmission line between the Nicola Substation near Merritt and the Meridian Substation in Coquitlam, a new series capacitor station at Ruby Creek on BC Hydro property, and improvements to the Nicola and Meridian substations.
  • The new transmission line will parallel an existing 500-kilovolt transmission line for the majority of the route along mostly existing right-of-way. When the existing line was constructed in the 1970s, additional right-of-way was acquired at that time in anticipation of future demand.
  • BC Hydro retained Flatiron-Graham to design and build the new transmission line. ABB will design and construct the new series capacitor station at Ruby Creek and BC Hydro will manage work required at Nicola and Meridian substations as part of the overall project.
  • The project is providing opportunities for local aboriginal and non-aboriginal vendors and suppliers for goods and services, such as right-of-way clearing, access road development, truck drivers and equipment operators, flag people, archaeology and heritage monitoring, environmental monitoring, right-of-way restoration, accommodation and meals.
  • By ensuring the most efficient transfer of electricity, the Interior to Lower Mainland line will reduce the amount of energy that otherwise would be lost on the transmission system – enough energy to supply about 80,000 homes per year.
  • The estimated project cost is $709 million. The planned in-service date is January 2015.
  • For more information visit bchydro.com/ilm_transmission.

About BC Hydro
BC Hydro has been providing clean, reliable power to British Columbians for more than 50 years while maintaining among the lowest rates in North America. BC Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation that serves 1.9 million customers and invests in the electrical system and in energy conservation to deliver a safe and reliable supply of electricity for today’s customers and for generations to come.

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Visit BC Hydro’s web site at www.bchydro.com

For more information, contact:
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468
w. bchydro.com/media