More power for Stateline with substation upgrade |

More power for Stateline with substation upgrade

by Sally J. Taylor

Come winter storms, fires and floods, Sierra Pacific Power will soon be better able to keep power flowing at South Shore homes and businesses.

The power company is in the midst of a $2.5 million upgrade of the Round Hill and Stateline substations. The two substations are now the weak links in a loop of power lines that includes the Meyers Substations and supplies electricity to the South Shore.

Once work is completed in November, power can be better rerouted to decrease disruptions when problems do occur.

“What this means to customers is that any outages occurring as a result of storm damage or equipment failure affecting the South Lake Tahoe electric transmission system should be much shorter,” said Tahoe District Manager Wes Wiens.

All three substations serving 26,000 customers on the South Shore are supplied with energy by separate transmission lines that originate at the Buckeye Substation in the Carson Valley. That station draws electricity from the Fort Churchill Power Plant near Yerington.

Although power lines to the Stateline and Round Hill substations, constructed in 1992, have the capacity to carry 120,000 volts, the two substations are only equipped to handle 14,000 volts.

In June 1996, the lack of capacity created a major electrical shortage when the Autumn Hills Fire on the east slope of Kingsbury Grade took out the power lines to both the Meyers and the Stateline substations. Power to South Shore had to be routed through the Round Hill Substation with its 14,000-volt limitations.

Many residents were completely without power for a more than a day, while power was rerouted and the Meyers line repaired. For nearly a week, while power crews worked in remote and rough terrain on the Stateline power line, residents were asked to limit their use of electricity to essential needs.

Once the new transformer and circuit breakers have been installed, Sierra Pacific can increase the capacity of the existing transmission line between the Round Hill and Stateline substations by raising the voltage from 14,000 to 120,000 volts. As a result, the utility will be able to transfer more power between South Shore locations when outages occur.

“That will make a big difference (during outages),” said Sierra Pacific spokesman Karl Walquist. “It’s not just a benefit to Round Hill customers, it will benefit customer service at the other two substations.

“It lets us bring more electricity into the area. When we have an outage, we can shift the power from the other locations.”

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