WI Electric Co-Op

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News and Updates

Cable Failure Update #3

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We wanted to give you another brief update to let you know where we are with the situation.

Fabick Cat has completed repairs on Engine #8 and both engines have been test ran and are available to carry the Island’s load.  Andrew Rainsford made a special stop at Fabick on his way up from Green Bay to retrieve needed parts on Friday.  Fabick will return to do oil changes on both engines and fix a coolant leak that has developed on Engine #7 on Tuesday, June 26.  We will continue to run the rental engine until cable repairs are complete in order to minimize outages required for the transition back to mainland power.

In addition to your crew, volunteers Alex and Ben Johnson, Bradley and Tom Jordan, Jeff Andersen and Kevin Krueger manhandled the 4600 lb., 313 foot piece of submarine cable onto Tom Jordan’s equipment trailer and it was brought to the Potato Dock and unloaded in preparation for the arrival of Kerite and Durocher.  Lee Engstrom, in addition to helping any way he can, has taken on the task of taking photos of the operation in order to document the repair, and will be on the barge with Kerite and Durocher personnel.

Kerite and Durocher personnel arrived on Sunday afternoon and the barge arrived at the Potato Dock between 2AM and 3AM Monday Morning, June 25.  After a safety discussion and project review, Durocher personnel, along with Andrie Tug crew (the same company that built the Northport Break wall) began shifting equipment on the deck in preparation for cable repair.  The submarine cable section on the dock was wound onto a reel and loaded on the deck of the barge.  Diver’s arrived midmorning and, along with Hoyt Purinton and Lee Engstrom, went to the fault site to further buoy the cable to prepare for the barges arrival and insure that it would be properly oriented to the cable when the spuds were lowered.  Kerite splicing personnel arrived midafternoon. Once the cable was further marked, the barge deployed to the fault site and after setting up, attempted to lift the cable onto the deck intact.  After it was brought up a fair distance, the decision was made to put it back on the bottom because there simply was not enough available slack to get it to the deck without straining it.  The cable will be cut on the bottom (as described in previous communications) and sealed and splicing operations will begin on Tuesday, June 26.  Splicing is expected to take two days and once complete, and the cable has been tested, we will begin our switching procedure and re-energize the cable.  As noted in previous communications, but worth repeating again, at the point in our switching procedure where we would start to transfer from engines, we will need to take an outage for a couple reasons:  

  1. The backup generator will need to be disconnected from service and this needs to be done with the system dead.
  2. We will need to slowly incrementally add load to the cable.  This means some people will be on before others, but the process may take a couple hours if all goes well.  

Depending on splicing progress and timing, we expect to be making the transition from engine to cable either late Wednesday or early Thursday Morning.  We will attempt to give as much notice as possible, but please be patient as much is happening at once!  It is likely we will make a few key phone calls and then hopefully with the help of social media everyone will get the most notice possible.

As an interesting aside, The Durocher Barge occupied much the same location as The City of Cheboygan, the Lake Michigan car ferry owned by Ed Anderson and used for potato storage and transport.  Durocher is headquartered in Cheboygan, Michigan for which the ferry was named.

Courtney Cauldwell