Construction of the 19 km Spuzzum section of the Interior-Lower Mainland transmission line

Merritt-Coquitlam power line completed

A year behind schedule and over-budget, high-voltage line subject to arbitration between BC Hydro and its contractor

A year behind schedule and $18 million over budget, the latest high-voltage line of the BC Hydro grid has been completed from Merritt to Coquitlam.

The new line parallels the existing main line supplying the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island from hydro dams on the Peace and Columbia Rivers. It was originally to be completed in 2014, but the main contractor fell behind and BC Hydro used its own crews to complete one of the most difficult portions, a 19 km stretch north of Hope.

The final cost for the 247 km line is expected to be $743 million, which Energy Minister Bill Bennett said is about two per cent more than the initial $725 million budget.

“There is an ongoing arbitration between BC Hydro and [contractor] Flatiron Graham as to who’s going to bear the cost of the delay, because the project was delayed by a year,” Bennett said in an interview Friday.

It’s the first 500-kilovolt line added to the BC Hydro grid in 40 years, to keep up with demand from a growing southwestern B.C. population and increase reliability in the event of disasters.

“You always have the potential for a big avalanche or a mudslide, even an earthquake, to take out one or two of your big transmission lines, bringing electricity in from the two rivers, the Columbia and the Peace,” Bennett said.

NDP energy critic Adrian Dix said the project started out with a $600 million estimate, making it $143 million over budget. He said it’s the latest in a series of cost overruns, including the Northwest Transmission Line north of Terrace, the Dawson Creek-Chetwynd line and the Iskut extension in the northwest.

Bennett said BC Hydro is under-budget on its overall capital construction plan, including $100 million under budget on reconstruction of five generating units at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River, and there is no additional effect on rates.

BC Hydro is committed to a capital budget of $2.4 billion a year for the next 10 years, including construction of the Site C dam on the Peace River and reconstruction of the Ruskin Dam in the Fraser Valley and the John Hart Dam on Vancouver Island.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Tofino celebrates annual Easter Egg Hunt

Ucluelet’s event scheduled for Big Beach on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Surf Canada Nationals coming to Wick Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“We have a really good thing going here with Surf Canada.”

Cleanup event helps Tofino’s shorebird habitats

“These birds shouldn’t be using plastic and marine debris to build their nests.”

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read