26-Mile Run from Sealy to East Bernard
It’s the summer of 2018 in Texas and electricity usage is breaking records. During one week in July, on six consecutive days, usage reached new highs between 4 and 5 pm daily. The message from ERCOT to public utilities is clear – absolutely no planned outages. Regardless of maintenance needs, aging towers, frayed cables. No outages. The grid simply can’t bear it.
For CenterPoint this is challenging news, particularly for an aging stretch of their transmission lines southwest of Houston. A 26-mile, 138kV transmission run from Sealy to East Bernard – consisting primarily of 40+ -year-old wooden poles, glass conductors – is in dire need of attention. Can it hold up until later in the year?
Thanks to Mesa Line Services, it doesn’t have to. With the people, the skills, the experience and the proprietary tools, Mesa can do the work with the lines energized.
It’s a team approach. And this team works together well, likes and respects one another, recognizing each other’s skills, and taking direction from the same supervision they’ve worked with on energized projects for years.
Thanks to early-morning planning the team is constantly in motion. A safety briefing is always first on the agenda with stern reminders of the resident dangers of energized work, the importance of consistent communication and, given the heat, constant hydration. Buckets are then raised and static lines picked while the wooden pole cross-braces are sawed. Robotic crane arms built to Mesa specifications take control of the energized lines while the conductor connection pins are tapped out. With the lines held safely away, the wooden poles are removed – most to find new life at the hands of local ranchers. An auger goes to work on a 12-foot hole to support the new steel pole.
Once the new pole is up and stabilized, the team gets to the finale like an orchestra finishing off a symphony. Static lines are put in place as, one by one, each transmission line finds its new home. Less than 90 minutes after they began, the Mesa team finishes, packs up … and heads to the next one in line on its 26-mile journey.
Meanwhile, thousands of Texans remain comfortably air conditioned, uninterrupted, on a woefully-hot August day.