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

Okanagan makes Top 5 of least affordable home markets list

The Okanagan is the fourth least affordable place in Canada to buy property on a single income

Stargate armour debuts at Kelowna expo

The Kelowna Fan Experience will feature Jaffa armour from Stargate SG-1

Kelowna summit will connect employers and immigrants

A session will be held tomorrow from 12 to 3 p.m. at the downtown library

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

West Kelowna resident missing

Police are concerned for the health and well-being of a 21-year-old West Kelowna man

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Vernon police search van possibly connected to bear spray incident

Police searched a yellow cube van, Thursday afternoon, at Vernon Auto Towing

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Bank employees save Penticton woman $6k from CRA scam

Would-be victim said she was hit while vulnerable from a family issue and initially fell for the trap

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Wanted North Okanagan man sought

RCMP are seeking man wanted on assault with a weapon, failing to comply with probation counts

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Most Read