County power grid will re­ceive $2.7M fund­ing

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - CITY NEWS - South­ern Al­berta News­pa­pers

A plan to up­grade the ru­ral power grid in Cypress County and up­grade its lo­cal shop will re­ceive $2.7 mil­lion in fed­eral and provin­cial fund­ing, it was an­nounced on Fri­day.

Ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion as­so­ci­a­tion Equs an­nounced this spring that it would in­stall au­to­mated me­ters for its 12,000 ru­ral cus­tomers across Al­berta to bet­ter man­age its billing and help cut down on main­te­nance costs and out­ages.

The plan by the largest power co­op­er­a­tive is the first of its kind in Canada by a mem­ber-owned util­ity.

On Fri­day, The fed­eral Min­istry of Na­tional Re­sources an­nounced that it would pro­vide $2.2 mil­lion in fund­ing to­ward the project, which in­cludes adding so­lar pan­els and a power stor­age sys­tem at its shop south of Medicine Hat. The lo­ca­tion on Town­ship Road 120 will also be out­fit­ted with two elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions.

Fed­eral money comes from the $180-bil­lion In­vest­ing IN Canada fund for trans­porta­tion, green in­fra­struc­ture and trade.

For the Equs project, an ad­di­tional $500,000 will come from Al­berta In­no­vates,a provin­cial gov­ern­ment agency.

“As a co-op­er­a­tive, it’s im­por­tant that we op­er­ate sustainabl­y for our mem­bers and the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties we serve,” said Equs CEO Pat Bourne in a state­ment.

“We’re ex­cited to see the op­por­tu­ni­ties that this smart grid can cre­ate in ru­ral Al­berta and pleased that we’ve re­ceived such great sup­port and recog­ni­tion from the gov­ern­ment as we move for­ward with this tech­nol­ogy.”

Nat­u­ral Re­sources min­is­ter Amar­jeet Sohi made the an­nounce­ment.

“The project… pro­vides a model for ru­ral util­i­ties to strengthen their lo­cal grids, re­duce costs and cre­ate jobs, while im­prov­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance – to the ben­e­fit of all Cana­di­ans,” he said in a pro­vided state­ment.

In­stal­la­tion of the au­to­mated power me­ters be­gan this sum­mer in cen­tral Al­berta fran­chise ar­eas of Equs. Por­tions of the south­ern and north­ern Equs trad­ing ar­eas will see work pro­ceed next spring.

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