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CETR Q and A Summary​

On January 31 and February 2, 2023, EPCOR hosted two online public information sessions to answer questions about the City of Edmonton Transmission Reinforcement Project. ​​

The following is a summary of questions asked and answered. Some similar questions have been combined and questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ro​uting, line a​nd structure questions​​

Q: Where will the line will be located?

​A: At this time, EPCOR has identified multiple options that we continue to assess as we work towards more refined routes. We expect to share more detailed routing information in​​ late spring/early summer. How we arrive at those refined options is a process through which we take into account a number of factors, including public feedback and social, economic, environmental and constructability aspects. Ultimately, the Alberta Utilities Commission, the independent regulator, will decide if the project proceeds, including the route.​

Q: Will we have a say in which route is chosen?

​A: Feedback is an important part of our project planning. We have identified multiple route options, and the project team will review feedback amongst other factors (social, economic, environmental and constructability) to refine these routes. Feedback received as part of this project is also included in our Facility Application to the Alberta Utilities Commission, which is the independent regulator responsible for determining if and how this project will proceed. 

Q: Can you please clarify how to interpret the numbers shown on the route options?

​A: The numbers listed on the map indicate points where the path of the route can change or connect to the next segment. There are multiple combinations and possible route options. These connection points/numbers are included to help stakeholders identify which route they think is the best option, segment by segment. ​

Q: Can you speak to any risk assessments that have been done?

A: EPCOR takes seriously its commitment to health, safety and our environment, as well as to our customers. As part of this project, we review a number of aspects and carry out assessments that will enable us to arrive at more refined route options and address public feedback. For example, we engage experts to look at matters related to health, property value and environmental aspects. We invite you to contact us if you have specific feedback or questions, and we will follow up with you to address them.​

Q: There is a walking trail and off-leash park on the south side of the Yellowhead Trail from 66 Street to 50 Street. Can you comment on the impacts these lines may have on this space?

A: The 240 kV route option on the south side of Yellowhead Trail is located primarily on the north side of the berm. The berm will remain, as will the walking trail. It is safe to walk near and under power lines and there are many areas within cities where transmission line right-of-ways/easements are paired with multiuse recreational trails. If this location is selected as one of our refined route options for the 240 kV transmission line, it will be included in the environmental impact assessment as part of the project planning. We don’t anticipate any long-term impacts for users of this walking trail after construction.​

Q: Please expand on the placement of the poles in regards to route chosen.

A: As multiple route options remain under consideration, we do not yet know the specific number or locations of the poles. We are actively working on identifying pole locations along the proposed route options. As part of efforts to limit potential impacts, EPCOR aims to reduce the number of structures on private property by using existing road corridors and other public lands. The final number of poles needed will not be determined until a final route is selected. ​

Q: Why is a residential route an option? Why has EPCOR proposed routes through a residential area north of the CN railway tracks along 127 Avenue, when there is a more direct route south of the tracks along the Yellowhead Trail highway corridor? Why are other routes beyond the most direct, non-residential route for the 72 kV line being considered?

A: In an urban setting such as Edmonton, it is challenging to find route options that would completely avoid residential areas. However, EPCOR does look to limit potential impacts in a number of ways, including through the use of existing linear disturbances such as roads and rail lines. We consider factors such as the environment, cost, visual aspects, proximity to residential areas and constructability in an effort to find routes with the lowest overall impact. ​

Right now we are in our consultation stage, gathering feedback to find the most suitable route for each of the 72 kV and 240 kV requirements and assessing each route based on a number of considerations, including social, economic and environmental aspects. Each route has its own merits and our approach is to find the most suitable options by balancing these considerations. ​

Q: Why are we not putting these lines underground, as there is existing infrastructure? Is this for cost saving to the rate base (customers)?

​A: A number of reasons exist why the current route options include above ground infrastructure. Above ground transmission lines cost less for Alberta ratepayers who will cover the costs of this project, if approved. They are also faster to build, which could see us address the need more quickly and avoids a prolonged construction period. Compared to underground infrastructure, above ground lines are also easier to access to complete maintenance or repairs, enabling us to potentially restore power faster for customers in the event of an outage. ​​

Underground transmission lines need to be placed in concrete duct banks, which would involve significant and more disruptive excavation work. Additionally, an underground double circuit transmission line would require two separate duct banks to prevent the cables from overheating, which would require more space and cost Alberta ratepayers much more money to build. In urban areas like Edmonton, space to install these types of duct banks is limited. For these reasons, the current proposed routes include above ground double circuit transmission lines, which are two transmission lines along one route strung mostly on one set of structures. It is important to note though that these are preliminary route options, and refinements will occur based on a number of factors, including public feedback. 

Q: The City is upgrading Yellowhead Trail. This would be a perfect time for EPCOR to install the 72 kV line, south on 97 street and then east along Yellowhead Trail to the Industrial Heights substation. Is this being considered? If not, why not?

​A: The route described is one of the potential options available for public feedback. We can definitely appreciate that this area has experienced a lot of construction in recent years, with the Yellowhead Trail widening and Fort Road expansion. Our project team has been in contact with the City of Edmonton to discuss the Yellowhead Trail conversion project. ​

This transmission project still needs approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission before any construction could begin, so the timing for potential construction may not align with the Yellowhead Trail work.  However, EPCOR is committed to the communities where we work and looks for ways to reduce construction-related disruption or coordinate work with others, including the City of Edmonton, where possible.​

Q: What is the minimum required setback required for an aerial 240 kV line to the nearest residential property?

​A: The Alberta Electrical Utility Code specifies safe limits of approach to electrical lines (the wires on top of the structures). For 240 kV lines, the safe limit of approach distance is five metres. Because these lines are proposed to be suspended in the air, this clearance will be met by their distance to the ground.​

Q: Why can’t you use the existing underground lines or expand them?

A: A few barriers exist that prevent us from using or expanding this infrastructure. The existing underground cables do not have the capacity necessary to meet demand in the coming years, and there isn’t sufficient space in the current right-of-way for more underground cables. Additionally, the existing lines need to be kept in service until the new ones can be built and energized. Without them, the existing power supply to the Kennedale and Namao substations would be at risk. Lastly, the existing lines connect to the Kennedale substation, which will be replaced by the proposed new substation that is in a different location.​

Q: There is already extensive development near the railway tracks, why is EPCOR proposing to add more development with these lines instead of spreading development to other areas?

​A: We are seeking feedback on the proposed routes, including the option near the railway tracks. EPCOR’s routing and siting principles seek to limit potential impacts by following existing corridors, like the Yellowhead Trail, where possible. However, we understand the concerns about cumulative development. That feedback is taken into account as we refine our route options. Also considered in our process to arrive at those refined routes are factors such as the environment, cost, existing linear disturbances like roads and rail lines, visual aspects and constructability​.

Q: Even if the Yellowhead Trail route is more costly than other routes, will you select it as the route as it’s the only proposed non-residential route?

A: Although cost is one factor, EPCOR is required to balance a number of aspects as we look to refine route options ahead of submitting our Facility Application to the Alberta Utilities Commission. This includes feedback from stakeholders, and other factors such as the environment, existing linear disturbances like roads and rail lines, visual aspects, proximity to residential areas and constructability.  It is the Alberta Utilities Commission that ultimately decides if the project proceeds and, if so, on the route.​

Q: Will some of these lines go through Hermitage Park? Why is a connection in a park being considered?

A: To connect to Alberta’s electrical grid, the proposed 240 kV line must connect to the existing transmission lines in this area. There are two options. One is to connect to the existing transmission line already in Hermitage Park (Connection Option A) and then continue south towards Yellowhead Trail to exit the park. The other connection option involves tying into the existing 240 kV line from the east side of the North Saskatchewan River next to the bridges where the eastbound Yellowhead Trail crosses the river (Connection Option B). This connection would require additional structures to be built near the river valley to support the crossing over the river. We are seeking input on these options and we welcome feedback on these connection options. EPCOR cares about the communities we work in and the environment. An environmental assessment will be done on the connection options as part of our project planning.​

Q: Will business impacts trump residential impacts?

A: No. We review and consider all stakeholder feedback equally and weight it against the number of other factors we’re required to consider as part of this process, including social, economic, environmental and constructability aspects. Right now we are in our consultation stage, gathering feedback from all stakeholders about the most suitable route for each of the 72 kV and 240 kV transmission lines. ​

Q: How large is the footprint under a 240 kV tower?

A: The base of the proposed monopole structures for this line will be between 1.5-2.5 metres wide at ground level. A larger foundation will exist below ground. ​

​​​​​​​​​​​Cost questions​

Q: How much would my utility bill increase if the whole project is underground?

A: The final cost of the project will depend on the routes chosen. Past comparisons for similar projects show that underground development costs per kilometre are approximately six times greater compared to above ground development. This is an estimate only and not specific to EPCOR’s current proposal. This is due to a number of factors including higher costs for underground cable compared to aerial cable as well as the construction effort to install an underground concrete duct bank to place the cable in when compared to installing above ground poles. As EPCOR takes all stakeholder feedback into consideration detailed project costs will become available and the Alberta Electric System Operator will be able to provide further information on impact to ratepayers.​

Q: Can you please tell us if the decommissioning is being budgeted for?

​A: Yes. Decommissioning the existing 72 kV transmissions circuits and the Kennedale substation is a part of the project budget. Final cost estimates for the overall project will be available later in 2023 as part of EPCOR’s Facility Application to the Alberta Utilities Commission. ​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Substation questions​​

Q: Why did EPCOR expand the existing Kennedale substation previously and now are closing it? Was this a waste of money and will we be reimbursed?

A: We are required to keep our system operational and that investment was necessary at the time to provide safe, reliable power to the communities served by Kennedale substation and accommodate the lifecycle replacement of relay panels. When that Facility Application was filed in 2015, that solution was approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission. The drivers for this project are different than those at the Kennedale substation in 2015. The potential for infrastructure currently at the Kennedale substation to be repurposed in other parts of the system will be assessed as part of this project.​

Q: What are the other potential locations for the substation?

A: At this time, there is only one proposed location for the new required substation, which is in the Industrial Heights area. If another suitable location is identified throughout the course of public consultation, it would be reviewed by the project team to assess its feasibility. Multiple locations were examined in the initial planning stage based on several criteria. The new substation must be near the Kennedale substation it is replacing and have adequate space to accommodate the necessary equipment. The land required for this is roughly 230 by 170 metres in size, or around 12 acres. Through EPCOR’s search, we found there are very limited options available in the area for this kind of development. ​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Safety and environment, and decommissioning questions​

Q: How will these lines affect our environment?

A: EPCOR cares deeply about the communities we work in and protecting the environment. The environment is an important consideration throughout project planning and once the final route options are selected. An environmental evaluation is completed on the applied-for line routes, as part of the application to the Alberta Utilities Commission. This evaluation identifies potential environmental impacts, including surface water, groundwater, soils and terrain, vegetation, land use, wildlife and aquatic life. Following the evaluation, an environmental protection plan is created that details the steps EPCOR will take to avoid, mitigate or limit potential effects on the environment.​

Q: What is the plan for decommissioning the existing 72 kV lines between the Clover Bar substation and Kennedale substation?

A: EPCOR is currently working with engineering and environmental professionals to determine the best plan for decommissioning, and expect a more specific plan to be available later in 2023. If this project is approved, it will be several years before the existing lines or equipment are decommissioned, as they need to remain in service until the new project is completed. When that time comes, we will take steps to ensure the area is carefully remediated. More information on this will be available when we are at this stage of the project in future years. We welcome any feedback you may have on decommissioning existing infrastructure. ​

Q: What will happen with the decommissioned Kennedale substation, will it be torn down?

A: If the project is approved, all the electrical equipment will be removed from the old Kennedale substation, including both outdoor and indoor equipment and the site prepared for sale or re-deployment for other EPCOR use. This would occur after the new facilities are built and operating. ​

Q: Will the structures attract lightning because of the height?

A: Safety remains our top priority. A shield wire(s) runs along the top of the transmission line, above the other conductors. The shield wire(s) serves to intercept lightning strikes and provides a path for the electrical current to travel safely to ground, protecting the main conductors, and preventing damage to equipment and the surrounding area. As elevated objects, shield wires are more likely to intercept lightning that may otherwise strike a lower lying area or structure/building but do not attract additional lightning. ​

Q: Please describe the risks of induction from the power lines to the railways, and what does that mean?

A: The electrical current travelling through transmission line conductors can induce voltage in metal objects, particularly those that are long and parallel to the transmission line route such as rails. This can be mitigated by grounding these objects, where necessary. As part of the design phase of this project, we have contracted an independent company to complete an induction study. The purpose of the study is to identify potential areas where induction may occur and determine where mitigation is needed. Safety is our top priority, and we will work with stakeholders in places where grounding is required. ​

Construction and traffic impact questions​​

Q: Is there any projection about how long the construction period will be?

​A: The construction period will depend on the final route. If the Alberta Utilities Commission approves the project, we anticipate construction would begin in late 2024 and continue to the end of 2026. Exact dates would be shared well in advance of any construction start. ​

Q: Can you please explain the impact to traffic on Yellowhead Trail construction may cause?

A: Any traffic impacts to Yellowhead Trail will be examined as part of the project planning process. Specific impacts, including potential traffic interruptions, would be identified ahead of construction. If there are any traffic impacts, EPCOR will work closely with the City of Edmonton to limit impacts as much as possible. As with all construction impacts, EPCOR would share details with the communities where the work is occurring. ​

Q: 127 Avenue will be undergoing a neighborhood revitalization project soon. Will putting these transmission lines on 127 Avenue undermine that?

A: EPCOR has been meeting with the City of Edmonton as a part of this project, which includes discussions on City-led projects and upcoming neighborhood renewal. We are unaware of any circumstances that would see this project affect neighborhood renewal. If you have questions about the neighborhood renewal project, please contact the City of Edmonton. ​

Q: Will you be moving the cell phone towers as well?

A: If there are any possible conflicts with existing infrastructure along the proposed routes for the transmission lines, including with telecom towers or equipment, EPCOR will contact the appropriate owners to discuss possible impacts and how we might address them. We cannot comment on specific locations until a final route is identified. ​

Q: We live near Fort Road and have been impacted by the Fort Road widening. What further traffic impacts can we expect?

A: The location where the proposed 72 kV transmission line crosses Fort Road will not be determined until a final route is identified and submitted to the Alberta Utilities Commission. We welcome public feedback on the options proposed and any inquiries about traffic impacts. If there are any traffic impacts, EPCOR will work closely with the City of Edmonton to limit impacts as much as possible. These details will be shared in advance of any potential construction. ​

Q: The Yellowhead Trail was recently expanded in the areas where your proposed plans are. Why was this project not completed during that time to lessen the construction impacts?

​A: The route described is one of the potential options available for public feedback. Our project team has been in contact with the City of Edmonton to discuss the Yellowhead Trail conversion project. 

This transmission project still needs approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission before any construction could begin, so the timing for potential construction may not align with the Yellowhead Trail work.  Also, it is unlikely work on transmission power lines could be safely and efficiently executed simultaneously with the Yellowhead Trail freeway conversion project. 

However, EPCOR is committed to the communities where we work and looks for ways to reduce construction-related disruption or coordinate work with others, including the City of Edmonton, where possible.​

Q: Can you comment on the risks of collisions and safety such as a semi-truck striking poles on Yellowhead Trail?

A: We will work with the required agencies to ensure that we meet or exceed all roadway requirements, including any safety-related clearances and/or guardrails, for transmission line development near roadways. ​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Property value questions

Q: Will these lines and structures impact the property value of my home?

A: There are several examples of these types of transmission lines in other parts of Edmonton and across Alberta. While past property value studies for projects similar to this one have not shown impacts we will hire a third party to do a property value study specific to this project. This study will be included in our Facility Application and principles related to property valuation will be used in our routing evaluation as the project progresses.  This information will be available to the public.​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Engagement/consultation questions​

Q: Will there be any in-person engagement sessions?

A: Yes. An in-person open house is planned for the spring/summer. Details on this open house will be provided in a project update notice and posted to www.epcor.com/cetr. Additionally, members of our project team are available to discuss the project with you one-on-one. Please email cetr@epcor.com to request further information. ​

Q: Will EPCOR disclose the number of attendees for the online sessions and will you provide answers to the unanswered questions?
A: Sixteen individuals attended the January 31 session and 14 individuals attended the February 2 session. Answers to questions, including those to which the project team could not reply in the session, are being shared on www.epcor.com/cetr.​
Q: How do you want us to give you individual feedback, on the website or mail-in the feedback form?

A: Multiple options exist for stakeholders to provide input as we strive to answer all questions and collect as much input as possible. You can provide feedback in a way that works best for you - and that can be through phone, email, the mail-in paper feedback form and by setting up a meeting with us. We also plan to have an in-person open house in the spring/summer. All of the contact information is available at www.epcor.com/cetr​. ​

Q: I wish to remain anonymous. Will our feedback form information be considered if we return it without our names?

​A: The project team reviews all feedback, regardless if contact information or an address is provided. Having some geographical references could help us categorize feedback, such as referencing a portion of the project (the proposed new substation, 72 kV transmission line, or the 240 kV transmission line) and your approximate distance from the routes/proposed substation site. EPCOR must seek approval for the proposed project from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), the independent regulator responsible for assessing the project. The process requires that EPCOR file an application that includes stakeholder feedback. All stakeholder feedback, including feedback submitted anonymously, will be included in EPCOR’s application. However, if a stakeholder wishes to actively participate in the AUC application, they will be unable to remain anonymous. 

We also plan to have an in-person open house for this project, which is currently planned to occur in the spring/summer 2023. This would be another opportunity to provide feedback without providing personal information as you would not be required to provide a name. Details on the open house will be provided in our next project update notice. ​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Need for the project and transmission system planning questions

Answers provided by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) ​

Q: The City of Edmonton has a plan, by 2065 to expand to 2 million people. Have you considered this, if so what are your findings?

A: Population growth and the associated increase in demand for electricity are considered in the AESO’s studies. Timely enhancements to the transmission system are proposed by the AESO as they become needed, and also with consideration of long-term electricity needs.​

Q: If the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) already knows there’s a need, is it assumed that approval is a sure thing?

A: No, approval is not a sure thing. The need for this project and the final proposed solution must be approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission, the regulator in Alberta, to ensure the project is in the public interest. ​

Q: Over the last 10 years, how many AESO projects have been on budget vs off budget with cost overruns?

​A: The AESO is responsible for planning the transmission system, including identifying the need for transmission system development. The AESO does not oversee actual costs of projects. Responsibility for project costs reside with Alberta’s transmission facility owners. These costs are ultimately reviewed by the Alberta Utilities Commission, the regulator in Alberta, to ensure project costs are reasonable and in the public interest.​

Q: Will there need to be both a 72 kV and a 240 kV route established?

A: Yes, in order to continue to reliably serve the load (demand for electricity) in the area, connecting the existing 72 kV system in the area to the 240 kV system to the east is the best approach. Both 72 kV and 240 kV routes will be needed.​

Q: Specifically speaking about monthly incurred costs and year-over-year projections to ratepayers, what is the impact to rate payers?

A: As EPCOR takes all stakeholder feedback into consideration and further defines the project, they will be able to develop detailed cost estimates. Once the detailed project costs become available, the AESO will be able to provide further information on impact to ratepayers. ​

Q: Which type of rate payer is being affected, residential or business?

A: All electricity users share the cost of moving power though Alberta’s grid. The rates to be charged are established in the Independent System Operator (ISO) tariff and are approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission. The tariff allocates costs to all users of the transmission system based on their level of usage of the system. Based on current usage levels, around 75 percent of cost will be paid by industrial and commercial customers and around 20 percent by residential customers (with the remaining five percent by farmers) spread across Alberta. ​

​Electric and magnetic fields, health questions

Answers provided by Exponent Health and Scientific Consulting 

Find more information on Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF).​​​​

Q: Should the public be concerned about electromagnetic waves from the lines and long-term health issues? Is there any science that directly connects these proposed transmission lines to human health? Are there health implications walking under the lines?
​A: There have been more than 40 years of scientific research into concerns about the possibility of health effects from exposure to the electric and magnetic fields (or EMF) associated with the use of electricity in our communities. This includes EMF from both indoor sources, such as the appliances and wiring in our homes and workplaces, as well as outdoors sources, including distribution and transmission lines. This research has been comprehensively reviewed by numerous international scientific and health agencies, including Health Canada, the World Health Organization, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  Additionally, the European Commissions’ Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority have also reviewed EMF research as recently as 2015 and 2022, respectively. None of these agencies have concluded that EMF is a cause of any adverse health outcome, including cancer. Health Canada states:​


Health Canada does not consider that any precautionary measures are needed regarding daily exposures to EMFs at ELF’s. There is no conclusive evidence of any harm caused by exposures at levels found in Canadian homes and schools, including those located just outside the boundaries of power line corridors. 

Magnetic fields from power lines and other sources are not detectable, but under some weather conditions, electric fields may be perceived under high-voltage transmission lines by the vibration of hair on the body or by contact with grounded objects. Safety standards for the construction of transmission lines are designed to minimize the perception of nuisance or harmful shocks.

(Source: Health Canada, “It’s Your Health. Electric and Magnetic Fields from Power Lines and Electrical Appliances.” Government of Canada. 2012.)

Q: What are the impacts on human health above ground vs below?

A: Whether installed above ground or below ground, transmission lines are designed to not produce harmful levels of electric and magnetic fields when installed above ground or magnetic fields below ground (the shielding on underground lines blocks the electric field).​

Q: Will there be a clutter in our airwaves* and will magnetic fields from lines cause interference with residential communications such as wireless 4G and 5G?

​A: The frequency of the EMF from transmission lines (60 Hertz) and other electrical devices supplied with electricity is far below those used for communications like radio, television, cellular or Wi-Fi, which have frequencies of millions of Hz (“Megahertz”) or billions of Hz (“gigahertz”). So, just as you cannot use an FM radio to receive a TV station, common residential communications, including those of mobile wireless 4G and 5G mobile phones, will similarly not be entirely affected by the electric or magnetic fields from transmission lines.

*There may be instances where transmission lines may cause some interference with AM radio, however, this typically only occurs in close proximity to higher voltage transmission lines.​​

​​​We would like your input

​EPCOR believes in listening to and engaging stakeholders. Community input and involvement is an important part of our decision-making. We believe in working towards solutions together and consulting with the public on initiatives.​ If you have any questions or would like to provide input on this project, please contact us.​

Contact us

   Ph: (780)412-8800
Email: CETR@epcor.com
​​​​​ Online: Submit a form with your feedback
Complete feedback form​​​​​

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