Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Webster Point Underground Electrical Work Underway For One Year

Seattle City Light is upgrading the capacity and reliability of the electrical system near Webster Point, which will affect 84 residences in that area, approximately NE 33rd Street on the north, Webster Point Road NE on the south, East Laurelhurst Drive NE on the east and West Laurelhurst Drive NE on the west. 

The work will take about one year to install underground conduits, vaults, and equipment in order to replace outdated 4kV electrical equipment with updated 26kV infrastructure throughout Webster Point.  

Construction hours are planned for Monday through Friday 7:30am-4pm.  Bus route #25 will not be affected as the work will be adjacent to the route. Notices will be sent regularly to affected homes and a resident engineer from City Light will also be on site daily, as well as a contractor to interact with customers
Mark, a Seattle City Light Representative, told the Blog Staff that it "is anticipated that construction will start at the intersection of NE 33rd Street and East Laurelhurst Drive NE, proceed around the loop clockwise back up to NE 33rd Street and finish off towards the west end of NE 33rd Street. This could change to accommodate construction modifications."
Mark added that the current project location is southwest of last June’s emergency cable replacement. This location is at the southern tip of Laurelhurst where it juts into Union Bay. The type of work is different as well he said.

The City has hired KC Equipment to converting the current 4kV system to 26kV which includes these benefits:
  • more switching points resulting in shorter outages with fewer customers affected when maintenance is required
  • meet mapping requirements allowing power outages to show on City Light’s Website
  • help the electrical system run more efficiently and will reduce power losses
  • installing conduit and vaults will protect the higher-capacity 26kV system increasing reliability. The current 4kV cable is buried directly in the ground.
Mark said that planned outages may or may not be required and the crew won’t know until they get into the work. If required, customers will be notified in advance.
Neighbors affected in June and December during the last City Light upgrades reported that they were not always notified of the outages and several days the outages were much longer than they were told.
Mark said commented that at that time the outages were "planned for eight hours, but crews found the cable became bunched as they pulled it out. The outage went past the planned restoration time as a consequence.  This new project does not involve pulling out old cable."
Several  neighbors during the December upgrade also complained that City Light work damaged their cars.  One resident told the Blog Staff that his car had multiple damage areas on the car, due to drilling that happened just a few feet from his car and flying debris, pebbles, etc. hitting the car. The resident said that Seattle City Light claimed no responsibility for the damage and the vehicle owner was left to cover the expenses and repair of the damage. 

Mark said that "it is certainly important to City Light that the work be conducted in a careful way. We appreciate customers’ patience during this upgrade. Residents should see “No Parking” signs on the affected section of street 72 hours in advance. If residents wanted to take an additional step, they could stay back from those sections as a safeguard."
A resident affected during the last City upgrades warns neighbors to ensure that they have adequate surge protectors and to even turn off all electronics during the day. One resident had a computer destroyed during one of the lengthy power outages in December.
Mark responded that "power outages may not be necessary during this phase of the work. If they are necessary, they’ll be communicated in advance. Sensitive electronic equipment should have surge protection and be turned off to provide maximum protection." 

One neighbor recently warned those at Webster Point:
MAJOR CAUTION for neighbors about vehicles on the street from a neighbor who had their car damaged from construction debris.
Please try and plan ahead if you can find places for your cars off the street during the project. Another note is to BE SURE that your computers are turned off when not used, and BE SURE that they have good surge protection. One neighbor had a computer completely destroyed from the big power outage 

City Light said that some of the additional impacts will be:
  • Trenching that will occur in the public right of way. Trenches will be covered and protected at night.
  • Affected landscaping, sod, driveway aprons and sidewalks will be restored to City standards
  • Parking restrictions are necessary to work safely/efficiently.
  • Once conduit and vault installation are complete, the electrical cable will be pulled into place at a later date. At that time, power outages will be necessary. Customers will receive advance notification.

Go here for Seattle City Light's Webster Point PowerPoint and here for the project information.  Maps with affected locations can be found here and a press release is here. 
For questions contact Patty Breidenbach, Electrical Service Representative, at (206) 684-4795 or








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