Stages of Undergrounding
The work to convert to underground facilities is not as intrusive as one might think thanks to major advances in the use of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) equipment which greatly reduces the amount of disturbance in the construction zone.
Transformers will be placed on the ground atop a concrete pad at locations depending on electrical demand and their current overhead location. A small easement may be necessary at each location for placement of the transformer, if the unpaved portion of the right-of-way cannot be used for the same.
Before construction begins, a review is undertaken at each property to determine the current point of service, the location where the lateral line from each home connects to the utility company distribution line out by the street, to ensure it is up to code or if there is any need for the location to be changed. The need for this to be changed is rare because, since 1982, the Town has required all individual service laterals to be underground. This review ensures we know where the point of service is, or will be, so that if any work associated with the location of the lateral is required this can be planned for and done in a timely manner in keeping with the construction schedule.
Horizontal Directional Drilling
The first step in the construction process will begin with construction equipment and materials such as conduit being placed at a “laydown” area to be determined. At each location where there will be a new ground mounted transformer, if the unpaved portion of the right-of-way cannot be used, the contractor saw cuts the street pavement to remove it and then digs a small pit. The same is done at the location of the next transformer north or south of the first location depending on which direction the contractor chooses to work. The HDD equipment, about the size of a small sub-compact automobile, is then brought to the site of the first pit to drill a pathway under the street pavement from one pit to the next wherein the conduit for utility lines will be run. Once the conduit is installed, the conduit is capped and the process described continues down the street until finished.
Connecting the Lines
Upon completion of the installation of the conduit, the contractor begins the process of running the lines in the conduit, connecting the lines to the transformer, and then from the transformer to the point of service at your home. Up until this point in time, your property will have been receiving service from the overhead facilities. Once connected to the new underground network, you will no longer be receiving electric service from the overhead facilities. This switchover takes a couple of hours to complete at each residence. During this time you will have no service so that the work can be done safely. The date and time of the switchover will be made known to you in advance so that you can plan accordingly.
Removal of Overhead Lines & Poles
Once the switchover to the new network is complete and the overhead facilities are no longer in use, FPL crews are called upon to remove all overhead lines, transformers and poles. Upon completion, the contractor, or the chosen landscaping subcontractor, begins restoring landscaping in easements or the right-of-way to screen the transformers in an acceptable manner, unless the property owner prefers to do it.
Punch List and Completion
When the landscaping is completed and the contractor has met all terms and conditions of his contract with the Town, including correction of any punch list items noted in the final inspection of the work, the underground conversion will be completed. At this point, if the contractor had to cut the road to provide service, those roads which were cut will be milled and resurfaced in accordance with Town requirements. Repaving at this time is predicated upon all planned public utility upgrades being completed, if their renewal or replacement is determined to be required at this time.