A scheduled power outage at Fort Irwin was completed, April 5, with major work on infrastructure improvements made to the electrical distribution system.
According to Chris Sayer, Fort Irwin Directorate of Public Works utility engineer, work included the replacement of two electric poles, five transformers and two power switches.
“The poles were replaced due to age and to prevent power outages like last year, which took place when four poles failed due to high winds,” Sayer said. “We took advantage of this power outage to replace the transformers, because they were at their end of their life cycle. We also took the time to replace the older switches with more efficient, easier maintained and more environmentally friendly switches.”
The work took place during the second scheduled outage in six months; the last in November saw the replacement of two poles, several switches and a couple of other transformers.
Sayer said the long-term goal was to replace 30 poles in the next few years.
“The biggest challenge in scheduling outages to perform the work is working around mission-related schedules and other needs of the installation,” he said. “The weather is the other factor. When the weather is cooler like it is now, the crews can work faster and accomplish more.”
Aside from the major work done, two crews completed routine pole maintenance off base, repairing a spliced section and installing additional lightning arrestors. Once all the work is complete, it takes about an hour to test and re-energize the system to bring everything back on line.
There were six crews total working to get the power back up at the installation.
“We’ve negotiated with Southern California Edison to perform two power outages a year to complete the necessary work,” Sayer said. “Another outage is scheduled for the fall at which time we’ll continue to replace additional poles and some transformers.”