General Managers Corner – Spring/Summer 2020

A Letter from The General Manager

Greetings, all. I hope this newsletter finds you, your families, and your staff healthy. As we continue to weather through the many unprecedented complexities the COVID-19 pandemic has caused and is creating, we look forward to the path of recovery and brighter days.

One element of our business that was drastically changed as a result of our current environment and social distancing was the format of Lakeview Light & Power’s 98th Annual Meeting, which was held Thursday, April 23. For the first time in our nearly 100-year history, LLP limited meeting attendance to the board of directors and executive staff, conducting the meeting virtually via web conferencing.

During last year’s annual meeting and in my previous article for LLP’s Connected newsletter, I promised to highlight some of the capital projects LLP is undertaking to sustain the reliability of our distribution system for generations to come. This work also coincides with the strategic planning session the LLP Board of Directors and executive leadership team conducted last August.

In lieu of my usual general manager’s presentation, here are a couple of updates regarding our five-year capital plan.

Tyee Substation Repower Project

We are midway through the replacement of the Tyee Substation. This project is estimated to carry a cost of $2.2 million and is being paid for by the rate changes we enacted in September 2018.

We are replacing the foundations, oil circuit breakers, transformer, and switchgear housing, essentially making it a new substation. The transformer is being shipped from the manufacturer in Korea. The work is captured by time-lapse photography, which will be converted to a video. We will post the video on our website so you can see an accelerated view of the work from start to finish.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some delays, the project timeline has only shifted three weeks and is well within budget.

The typical life expectancy of a substation is 20 to 30 years. However, we take pride in caring for these valuable assets by providing annual scheduled maintenance, testing, periodic cleaning, and painting of each substation. That is why ours have reliably functioned for 40 years.

This is the first of our four substations to be repowered. Due to the similarity in service age, project duration, and capital cost, we are intentionally spacing subsequent substation repower projects over the next 6 years, with Roy Miller 1 in 2022; Roy Miller 2 in 2024; and Lake Grove in 2026.

Power Pole Replacements

Our plan is to average 50 power pole replacements a year. As a young driver in the 1980s, my father always instructed me to drive safely and, at all costs, “never tangle with a power pole” as they can be both damaging and expensive.

You might ask, “How much does it cost to replace a power pole, and how long do they last?” The current average cost of a power pole, along with its normal accessories, is roughly $9,000 per pole.

Some poles are replaced due to damage, like being struck by a moving vehicle. However, most are replaced at the end of their useful life–which equates to 25 years.

LLP has a little more than 1,300 power poles within its distribution system. At a pace of 50 poles replaced each year, that will enable LLP to replace every pole over 26 years.

As time management author Alan Lakein stated, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” It is rewarding to have the responsibility and privilege to perform work that not only impacts service to our members and customers now but also for generations to come.

These are just 2 examples of how LLP continues to be “looking to the future, since 1922.”


John DeVore, General Manager