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128 ARW to receive upgraded electrical services

MILWAUKEE -- More change is coming to the 128th Air Refueling Wing. 

The base electrical services are being upgraded, while some pre-selected power lines are going to be completely removed, said Lt. Col. Michelle Kendall, the 128 ARW civil engineering commander. 

The overhead electrical service is going to be removed and the new, upgraded lines will be underground, Kendall said. New power transformers will also be installed as part of the upgrade, she said. 

Existing wooden utility poles along Tanker Avenue are also scheduled to be removed, Kendall said. The poles are rotted, and one of them has been blown over during a recent wind storm, she said. 

Benefits of these upgrades will come in the form of less nuisance outages from birds and other small animals tampering with the power lines, said Kendall. Also, WE Energies will assume ownership of all power lines on base and will be responsible for any maintenance issues that could arise, she said. 

There are possible hindrances due to this construction, though. 

"Power outages will be needed to switch the service over," Kendall said. 

Also, there could be traffic lane obstructions and various pieces of construction equipment operating around the base, she said. 

However, a plan does exist to mitigate these hindrances. 

"The outages will be planned in advance to minimize any building downtime and to notify the building occupants," Kendall said. 

The benefits of the electrical service upgrade will be a more-reliable power service, a better-looking base, and up-to-date electrical service, said Kendall. 

WE Energies subcontracted the upgrades to KS Energy for the high-voltage systems and Nuvo Construction Company for the low-voltage systems. Both subcontracted companies are from the Milwaukee area. 

The upgrades are expected to cost $1.2 million and are scheduled to be complete by the middle of December 2009.