Now that the City of Nelson and Nelson Hydro’s downtown electrical conversion is complete

Downtown electrical conversion project complete

The city of Nelson and Nelson Hydro say it now has a state-of-the-art new distribution system for electricity.

  • Jul. 27, 2014 5:00 p.m.

The City of Nelson and Nelson Hydro’s downtown electrical conversion is complete.

As part of a commitment to upgrade the city’s electrical infrastructure, the two groups, along with members of the public, media and dignitaries who gathered earlier this month, are celebrating the  connection of all their downtown customers to the core’s new and improved electrical system.

Crews from Nelson Hydro, Martech Electrical Services, CGL and Arctic Arrow have replaced overhead hydro distribution lines and poles all along Herridge and Hume Lanes.

“I’m very pleased with the project,” said Alex Love, Nelson Hydro general manager. “It moved our utility forward by modernizing our infrastructure. Of course the project had complications, but the people involved, our staff, consultants and contractors found good solutions, they made it looked easy when really it wasn’t.”

Once Telus and Shaw remove the last of their communications lines, all of the aging wooden hydro poles in the lanes to the north and south of Baker will have been replaced with new hydro poles, new overhead secondary lines, and an increased voltage capacity of 25kV from 4 kV.

The new hydro distribution lines are affixed well above the lanes, along with TV and phone lines.  Underground electrical primary lines and 11 new transformer islands — adorned with historical imagery from Nelson’s past — were installed in 2011.

Along with providing a dependable, state-of-the-art new distribution system for electricity, and reducing congestion, the conversion project also includes new LED lane lighting, making Baker Street’s lanes and back alley business frontages even more pedestrian friendly and accessible during the evening.

The downtown conversion project is one of Nelson Hydro’s final steps in completing a city-wide electrical infrastructure upgrade, ensuring a reliable electric supply for Nelson for many years to come.


Benefits of the downtown voltage conversion project include:

  • Improved reliability of downtown electrical service, with fewer outages
  • Improved power quality, for future business sector expansion
  • Fewer poles in the alleyways, making for easier vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, parking and delivery
  • Replacement of end of life electrical plant (poles, wires and transformers)


The Downtown Voltage Conversion project, by the numbers:

  • Number of aging hydro poles removed from the lane’s to the north and south of Baker Street: 110
  • Number of new poles being installed: 52
  • Approximate length of cable being removed: 13 km
  • How many LED lights being installed: 38
  • Transformer islands installed and decorated with historical Nelson themes: 11

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