Crews complete Pocahontas to Whittemore line rebuild

Each year Corn Belt Power crews work across the system on improvements and upgrades to enhance reliability and provide for future load growth. 

In December the cooperative’s transmission crews finished a 24-mile reconductoring project between Pocahontas and Whittemore. 

The original line construction was completed in 1950. Corn Belt Power’s transmission superintendent Jeremy Stattelman says it’s time for an upgrade. 

“Given the age of the poles, wire and insulators, this project will increase our reliability to our members,” he said. 
“Replacement of approximately 60-70 percent of the existing poles, insulators, and crossarms is considered a major system upgrade.”

In addition to new poles, more robust wire will be strung. The new 336 aluminum conductor steel-reinforced cable (ACSR) will provide more system reliability. 

“In general, it comes down to age and condition of the line, load and past outages that would affect our reliability to our members,” Stattelman said. “The ampacity — capacity to carry electricity — of the new line is more than 50 percent greater of that of the old line. It will be able to sustain more electrical load.”

Stattelman says projects like these will serve member load for years to come. 

“Keep in mind that when our crews are working on the reconductoring process, we do encounter many problems when removing the old wire. Sometimes there’s damage to strands and other small issues,” he said. “That said, that wire and infrastructure has served members since the 1950s. Projects like these will serve members for decades into the future.”

How does Corn Belt Power decide on a project? Stattelman leaves that to the engineers. 

“Our engineering department factors in loads and a lot of other data to make these determinations so we can have a plan on what needs to be done,” he said. “Given the process on this construction project for our own transmission crews will take approximately 6-7 months, weather pending, to rebuild and reconductor this 24 mile project.”

Corn Belt Power crews have taken the lead on this project. 

“Many other generation and transmission companies would hire contractors to take on projects such as this and outsource the design and staking as well,” Stattelman said. “I am proud that we have the crews, engineering staff, and equipment to do these jobs ourselves. Our crews take pride in knowing they’re constructing something that will serve generations of cooperative members.”