KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico --
There have been numerous planned power outages on Kirtland Air Force Base, as crews work to upgrade the "Feeder 3" power system on base.
Upgrade Feeder 3 is a project that will improve the Feeder 3 power lines on Kirtland by replacing the old wooden poles with fewer new steel poles. The upgraded poles will save the Air Force money, man-hours and prolong the life of the power system “Feeder 3.”
“It helps with maintenance and prolongs the life of the system,” said Justin Hailey, 377th Mission Support Group’s Civil Engineer Squadron construction inspector, about the new poles being installed. “A wooden pole lasts from 10 to 15 years and a metal pole has a 20- to 30-year life span, so it saves the government money on preventative maintenance of the system.”
The current wattage of Feeder 3 is 4,160 volts, but the upgrade will raise the levels to a potential 12,470 volts. The increase gives the base a capacity for more power and reduces the use of substations in the future, minimizing maintenance efforts, cost and care to the whole system.
In order for the new poles to be installed, power to Feeder 3 must be shut off. Feeder 3's lines run from the Eubank Gate, through base-housing and out to the western portion of the base.
“The contractors can't set a metal pole near an energized line; we do outages so they can stand the poles up and do their pole drillings safely. Safety is a factor that we have to have,” Hailey said. “If we don't do the outages then we would be extremely behind schedule.”
The power outages will subside in the winter months but will resume in early spring. Lack of power in the winter months could cause pipes to freeze and damages to facilities, so waiting would be more effective, according to Hailey.
Michael Oliver, CES chief of construction and inspection, said the project will see 158 wood poles removed, 118 new steel poles, 118 piers and 200,000 linear feet of wire installed.
Currently at 17,000 man-hours, the completion of Upgrade Feeder 3 is scheduled for June 8, 2018.