During a conference call last Monday morning between Debra Dull, customer and community manager and Dan Vink, distribution manager, both of Rocky Mountain Power and Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley and Castle Valley Fire Chief Ron Drake, the plan was laid out. Vink explained that they will be replacing old poles and long spans of wire at two different locations and there is not a way to change out the equipment without the lengthy power outages.
The first area to be upgraded will be the Mill Creek Canyon crossing near the Loop Road on the La Sal Mountain. The contractor requires two 12-hour days of power outages to complete the work and those days will be next Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 17 and 18 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The second phase of construction will be on the long span of wire at Porcupine Rim where the line enters Castle Valley. That phase will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and the work will also be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
To minimize the impact on the community of Castle Valley, Vink has ordered a generator to be set up outside the town far enough away so the noise of the equipment will not bother residents. The generator will furnish power to the town of Castle Valley, Sorrel River Ranch and the Red Cliffs Lodge but will not include Castleton, Cisco, Dewey and other locations along the Colorado River. He said the large generator will handle the 370 customers in the close proximity of Castle Valley but he said that he couldn’t possibly get enough generators to furnish power to the other 300-plus customers along the entire 125-mile-long distribution line.
Although the generator will provide power during the construction period, there will still be a five-to 20-minute period of time that the power will be out each morning of the construction as the crew transitions from one power source to the other and another shorter period of time in the evening as the power transitions back. Vink said that he cannot synchronize both power sources to simultaneously go on and off, which explains the short power outage.
In notices mailed Oct. 5 to the affected customers, Rocky Mountain Power advised them to make necessary preparations for these long outages. The company apologized for the inconvenience and explained that every effort will be made to keep the duration of these outages each day to a minimum.
Because of the rough terrain, the contractor said they need the 12-hour time to complete each day’s work but the power will be restored as soon as the work is done. In the end, Vink said that the number of outages should be greatly improved because of this recent project and they have other projects that will also improve the service but this is the largest of the proposed projects.
At their last public meeting the Castle Valley Town Council opened and reviewed the proposal from Desert H2O to drill and construct a large volume well. The bid was awarded to Danny Prickett, owner of Desert H2O, who will drill the well on the southeast corner of the cemetery lot. The high-volume well will be used by the Town of Castle Valley Road Department and the Castle Valley Fire Department to quickly fill their equipment. The fire department needs a year-round, high-volume water source to fill their fire-fighting apparatus during fire emergencies
The council is also considering the purchase of a used backhoe to replace the leased backhoe that they now operate. Last year the town leased two backhoes when the lease was priced reasonably, but last year the lease on one of the backhoes jumped dramatically and the town returned the equipment. They anticipate the lease on the other piece of equipment to also increase and the road department can eventually buy a used backhoe for the price of a leased machine. The road department personnel will be able to repair and maintain the older equipment and not be required to pay for maintenance from the owners of the equipment.
The town council passed a resolution to cancel the November election and now has an excess of $3,000, which was earmarked for the election costs. As a result, the council voted to fund up to four residents who would like to participate in the upcoming emergency medical technician training in Moab next month. Several have already indicated their desire to take the training but stipulations will be put in place to insure that the trained students will remain here and benefit the community.