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Work begins on VEC line upgrades

Vermont Electric Cooperative began work this week to upgrade power lines that would carry electricity from Lowell wind turbines.

The upgrades are to 16.9 miles of the co-op’s transmission system located in the towns of Jay, Westfield and Lowell.

The project will replace part of the electric grid that is more than 40 years old and in need of improvement to ensure reliability and safety throughout the northern tier of VEC’s service territory.

Economic growth shows demand will dramatically increase in the Jay area in the future, officials said.

In late July, VEC members voted to approve the transmission upgrades by a significant margin of nearly 5 to 1. Green Mountain Power will pay roughly 58 percent of the cost of the $12 million. GMP also began work this week to prepare the way for 21 turbines on the Lowell ridge line.

The transmission line project is expected to continue through mid-summer next year.

Many of the upgrades will take place along the existing transmission corridor. However, there will be some areas where utility poles will need to be moved and tree clearing will be necessary, officials said.

Limited outages may be needed during the construction process, and customers will be notified when that happens, VEC officials said.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call VEC’s member service department at 1-800-832-2667.