Orchard Heights Phase 2 Overhead-to-Underground Conversion Project
[Last Updated: 5/24/2017 9:54:45 AM]

As a continuation of the Orchard Heights Undergrounding Project that began last fall, Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P) will be converting the overhead primary and secondary power lines in this area. Click here to view a map of the project area. Properties highlighted in green are TCL&P customers who will have their services undergrounded.  

WHY: Due to the relative inaccessibility of these electric lines as a result of mature trees, fences and other obstacles installed after the line was constructed, the utility intends to fully convert the lines underground with all costs of equipment upgrades to the home, including the meter base, to be paid entirely by TCL&P.


The undergrounding of the new power lines will be done either by directional boring, which is a process of installing underground conduits with minimal impact on lawns, trees and driveways, or manually for lines that directly service the home. 

The undergrounding of the primary and secondary power lines will occur along the back lot line easement between Edmar and East Orchard Drives and along the Right-of-Way of Edmar Drive and Sterling Road. However, not all equipment necessary to provide power to the home can be undergrounded, such as the pad mounted transformers (green boxes). The placement of these facilities takes into consideration accessibility, the number of transformers necessary to feed the area in question, and the location of the transformers. In other words, TCL&P crews need easy access in the event of equipment failure; the utility needs to avoid installing transformers beyond that which is necessary to service the area due to their high purchase price and maintenance costs; and we need to ensure high quality of service based on optimal spacing and placement.

Therefore, it has been determined the best location for the transformers is near the road, and in some cases in a resident’s front lawn. This will avoid fence removal and utility trucks needing to access back yards in order to set the transformers which weigh in excess of 1,000 lbs. The only required equipment in the back yard areas now and in the future will be small, 18”x24” boxes that house the wiring that directly services the homes. These small boxes have green tops that blend into a grassy area, and are very light so they can be carried by our crews into the back yards by hand. 

The project is tentatively scheduled to begin mid-June with completion by October 31, 2017. TCL&P will work with the phone and cable companies to coordinate this process. Following completion of the transfer, TCL&P owned equipment and utility poles will be removed. However, please know that some service equipment is shared with Consumer’s Energy and will need to remain on site. 

As with most electric utility projects, brief outages may be needed in order to complete the job. TCL&P will communicate with customers in order to coordinate times as they are needed. 



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