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WHAT’S GOING ON? BREMCO’s Upgrade of Oak Grove Substation To Be Done by September

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This 100-foot self-supporting pole that doesn’t require guy wires and anchors is located at the intersection of N.C. 105 and N.C. 105 Bypass. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation’s project to upgrade its Oak Grove transmission line in between N.C. 105 and U.S. 421 began once steady spring weather arrived and should be completed by September.

The transmission line was built in the ‘50s and BREMCO spokesperson Renee Whitener noted – just before the project began – that “it’s time to modernize to ensure the best reliability” of electric service in Western Watauga.

Before the project began all of the landowners were notified and several received visits from BREMCO staff to their property to discuss the project. Whitener said on Wednesday that the project is being coordinated with New River Light & Power – as BREMCO is helping NRL&P upgrade lines on their poles and the N.C. Department of Transportation – as BREMCO needs lane and road closures for safety reasons.

The project is split into two sections. The first section begins at the corner of N.C. 105 and N.C. 105 Bypass and continues to the Oak Grove Substation located near the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. Whitener said this section should be complete in about four weeks.

The second section runs from Oak Grove Substation to the end of Highland Hall Road off of U.S. 421 and should be complete by September.

People driving by the intersection of N.C. 105 and N.C. 105 Bypass may have noticed the new 100-foot tall pole. Whitener said that this is a self-supporting pole that doesn’t require guy wires and anchors.

“It is 100 feet tall because of the installation of a three-way motor-operated air break (MOAB) switch that can be remotely controlled from Blue Ridge Electric’s dispatch center rather than having to send a lineman to manually operate the switch,” Whitener said. “This will help reduce the length of outages and improve reliability to members.”