October 26, 2023 Harlan Electric Earns 2023 NECA Project Excellence Award for Live Line Project
NECA honors team for exemplary work in Overhead Transmission
Performing hundreds of structure replacements under energized conditions would be a challenge in and of itself, without any additional factors. That’s why delivering excellence, maintaining exemplary safety, protecting wildlife, and accelerating the project schedule was an absolute triumph for Harlan Electric.
In May 2022, Eversource awarded Harlan Electric the X116/Z119/S188/R187 transmission project: a complex structure replacement project requiring 252 structure replacements across four different 115kV transmission lines in the same right of way (ROW).
Harlan Electric performed that difficult project so successfully it was named the 2023 Project Excellence Award winner in the Overhead Transmission category by the National Electric Contractors Association (NECA).
A Complex Energized Project
The need to perform transmission work under energized conditions is growing in many regions, including congested, urban areas like southern New Hampshire. Harlan Electric’s certified live line crews have been performing energized work there since 2020 to help meet Eversource New Hampshire’s growing need for energized work due to outage constraints.
The utility needed to execute the X116/Z119/S188/R187 transmission project to ensure reliability to their customers after problems with existing wooden laminate poles were discovered.
Most of the structure replacements (227 of 252), which converted the existing poles to light duty steel monopoles, were performed under energized conditions. With the four transmission lines on the same right of way, Harlan Electric needed to carefully plan out and coordinate the switching of lines being worked on by the 2-3 live line crews, 4 drilling crews and 4 access subcontractor crews.
Each day, crews would discuss working procedures for every task planned to be completed that day. This allowed them to identify location hazards ahead of time and maintain the awareness necessary to prevent unplanned outages.
Due to their careful and methodical efforts, not a single unplanned outage occurred during the project.
Despite extensive barehand live line work on the project, the Harlan Electric team’s daily safety procedures, briefings and culture kept the workers safe during the six months of line construction in 2022.
Those daily procedures included conducting a thorough job brief and detailed work plan, including the barehand procedures, at the start of work each day to make sure every member of the team understood their role and responsibilities and who would perform each task.
That care, communication, and planning paid off. There were zero recordable incidents, only one first aid, and no property damage during the project. Harlan Electric’s New Hampshire district earned both the NECA Zero Injury and NECA Safety Excellence recognitions for its entire 2022 safety record, which included this project.
Shortly after the project was awarded, an unforeseen challenge arose. New Hampshire’s Fish & Game Agency issued new protections for a number of rare, threatened and endangered species that would need to be adhered to during the project.
Harlan Electric worked closely with the utility to determine what changes and procedures would be necessary to comply and then made sure its subcontractor handling access and environmental controls built and maintained those requirements.
The essential protections included additional timber access matting and silt fence surrounding upland work pads. Operable fences had to be stationed at every work pad entry.
Crews worked hand in hand with full time environmental monitors in the field daily. Visual inspections were performed around each piece of construction equipment prior to operation to ensure no wildlife had entered the immediate work area.