Retirement is just out of range for one truck in the Swift Current fleet.
Swift Current Light & Powers' current Digger Derrick truck, a 2005 GMC E3 model, has been drilling holes for power poles for 18 years. Even though the City has approved the purchase of a new 2024 Altec Digger Derrick truck, they will be running the older model until the newer model is in their hands.
Mitch Minken, the general manager of infrastructure and operations for the City of Swift Current, presented the intention of running the old truck to Swift Current city council. He also furthered the argument to include running the truck as a backup unit after the new model arrives.
"Light & Power advocates the retention of the current E3 Digger Derrick in its fleet to provide for safety, versatility, and as a backup to the main unit," said Minken. "The Digger Derrick is a key piece of the equipment for Light & Power to install poles and for lifting loads such as transformers."
Keeping the old model on hand allows them to change out power poles without an outage; utilizing two trucks is the only way to accomplish that task safely.
Additionally, having two operational trucks in the fleet will enable them to cover an additional job site. Twice the trucks could potentially mean double the productivity.
Retaining the vehicle is expected to cost an estimated $4,000 annually. That breaks down to roughly $1,000 in fuel, $1,000 for licensing, and $2,000 for annual inspections and maintenance.
"This unit is not eligible for trade-in as the supplier of the new unit is not the manufacturer of the existing unit," clarrified Minken. "Given the configuration and the age of the unit, it is anticipated that its disposal value will be low."
Council had no objection to continuing to run the 2005 Digger Derrick until the new unit arrives or against using it as a backup, secondary unit.