HMU is in the final phase of a plan started in the early 2000s when the HMU Board of Trustees agreed to converting almost all HMU power lines from overhead to underground.  In the process, HMU has upgraded the voltage used on distribution lines from 4,160 volts to 12,470 volts.  HMU officials say changing the voltage brings the electric system up to a modern and more efficient distribution system.

UTILITIES PROJECT GAINS STEAM

Underground conversion project began back in the early 2000s

    HARLAN -- Crews from contract PSC recently set the base for a new switchgear basement and vault on the south side of Chatburn Ave. at 6th St. (above).  The Harlan Municipal Utilities’ electric overhead to underground conversion project is rolling along with nice weather recently allowing crews to catch up after a rainy June.
    “We’re progressing, but are a little behind schedule due to the spring rains,” said Ken Weber, HMU CEO.  “The week of rain we had in June made it nearly impossible for crews to get any work done.
    “We’ve pushed our construction end date to sometime late in 2018.  Electric distribution will likely be swung over to the new underground lines yet this fall.  Underground services are expected to be more reliable as the lines are not subject to weather related wind and ice storm damage.”
    The final phase includes removing remaining HMU power lines and poles along Chatburn Ave., 7th St., 8th St. and 9th St. from Chatburn to Elm Street, as well as overhead lines in the eastern part of Harlan.  This last area is generally described as east of 6th St. and south of Cyclone Ave.  The change in the voltage also requires updates at substations.  (Photo by Caitlin Yamada)

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