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FortisAlberta responds to power grid criticisms in Beiseker

FortisAlberta is clarifying the current power situation in Beiseker after recent criticisms levelled at the company in the Rocky View Weekly’s story on the Beiseker based Kathyrn Irricana Beiseker Acme (KIBA) Seed Cleaning Plant.
A FortisAlberta lineman works to restore power to customers. Outages can now be reported to the company via its mobile app.
A file photo of a FortisAlberta lineman working on powerline maintenance. FortisAlberta said after recent repairs near Beiseker the mainline is now functioning properly again. Recent outages have drawn criticisms from some local residents and businesses.

FortisAlberta is clarifying the current power situation in Beiseker after recent criticisms levelled at the company in the Rocky View Weekly’s story on the Beiseker-based Kathyrn Irricana Beiseker Acme (KIBA) Seed Cleaning Plant in the newspaper’s May 2 edition.

Plant manager Michael Kenzler explained in the article that deficiencies in Beiseker’s power grid, identified by FortisAlberta, led to the inability of the KIBA plant to draw in the proper amount of first-phase power to start up its plant without dangerous arcing.

KIBA board chair Regg Poffenroth went even further in his criticisms, stating that an increase in power outages in Beiseker over a six-month period had led to an increased risk of fire and hazard at the plant.

“In Beiseker, about six months ago, they had only one phase for their (the Village’s) electrical system go down,” Poffenroth told the Rocky View County Public Presentations Committee during its most recent meeting in April. “We have three-phase motors. Those motors tried to start. Lucky those guys (our employees) were there or that plant would have burned down.”

In a recent statement released in response to these comments, FortisAlberta explained the Village of Beiseker contacted them in early April to report an increase in intermittent outages in recent months. A FortisAlberta powerline technician was then dispatched to complete a detailed patrol of the mainline feeder that powers the village, and identified necessary repairs on a section of the line. 

On April 7, it goes on to state, the Village of Beiseker’s power feed was then switched to an alternate feeder coming from the Irricana area.

“Switching to an alternate feed is standard practice to allow our crews to safely repair a powerline while maintaining the same level of reliable power to our customers,” the statement reads. “Between April 17 and 21, FortisAlberta crews completed repairs to a seven-kilometre section of the powerline.” 

According to FortisAlberta, power to the village was switched back to the repaired mainline feeder on April 21.

FortisAlberta said power is once again flowing normally into Beiseker after these repairs, and the electricity provider undertakes regularly scheduled line patrols and annual visual inspections to ensure its lines are operating safely and reliably.

FortisAlberta went on to state it takes no responsibility for any potential internal electrical problems at the KIBA plant or elsewhere in the Beiseker area.

“It is a customer’s responsibility to ensure appropriate protection is in place for their electricity services, including three phase protection when industrial motors are involved,” it reads.

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