The Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) has begun construction of its West Side Reinforcement Project, part of its Lansing Energy Tomorrow initiative and an important step in retiring its Eckert coal-fired power plant in 2020. The $33 million project will construct a new 7-mile transmission line connecting the Erickson Switchyard to the Willow Substation, and will increase reliability for electric customers on the west side and north side of BWL’s service territory.
“This is all part of making the BWL the utility of the future,” said BWL General Manager Dick Peffley. “Customers demand safe, reliable and clean power, and this project is delivering on those requests.”
The project will install new poles and lines, to be preceded by tree trimming and removal to ensure customer and employee safety. The BWL follows nationally recognized utility line clearance and pruning standards when conducting tree work.
Intermittent road closures are expected throughout the project to allow work to continue safely, and will be announced via the City of Lansing’s Public Service Department.
The Lansing Energy Tomorrow plan also involves the BWL expanding and modernizing its electric transmission system, with new substations, smart grid investment and a new generation plant. It includes major upgrades to technology, such as converting to smart meters, and a new customer information system. In addition, programs are in the works that are responsive to customer needs and preferences like new rate offerings for high load factor customers and a new, more flexible green rate, which will allow customers to purchase more renewable energy than the BWL already provides.
The project is expected to be completed by June 2018.