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Plaza to Waverly project could start

Posted: Friday, Jan 18th, 2013

MONTE VISTA — As early as next week, work on an electric transmission line within San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative’s distribution system could start. Over the course of the project, a 1950s vintage transmission line will be upgraded to improve service to SLVREC members.

SLVREC System Operations Manager, Terryl Jensen said, “This project is an improvement within the SLVREC system. The Plaza to Waverly Project will rebuild an existing transmission line along substantially the same route as the current line. The existing line is showing its age and it must be replaced to maintain and improve power distribution to our members within the Valley. I want to distinguish this project from the newly proposed electric transmission line from the San Luis Valley south into New Mexico, which will take several years to permit and construct, and which will provide the needed redundancy into our electric distribution system.”

The rebuilt Plaza to Waverly line will not substantially differ from the existing line. While some poles may be replaced with taller poles, the overall appearance and location will be similar to the current line. However, the capacity and capability of the new line will significantly improve.

Wasatch Line Construction Company has been selected to complete the next phase of the project. Crews will replace the static line with a modern fiber optic static line and they will replace all insulators on a two-mile stretch of line located between Carmel Substation and Waverly Substation.

Depending upon weather conditions, Wasatch crews may work around the clock. In this way, the company can prevent trucks from freezing up in cold weather. Area residents may see bucket trucks and crews within easements and right-of-way corridors at all hours.

Work for the remaining 35 miles of the project will go out for bid soon. A contractor will be selected by mid-February. Unlike the first two miles of the project, wildlife timing restrictions will require crews to plan work locations to avoid impact to various wildlife species.

“We completed two Environmental Assessments for this project,” Jensen said. “One for the BLM and one for RUS (Rural Utility Services). We have developed a construction schedule by location to avoid impacts to animals and other resources.”

Jensen said, “When this project is complete, we will have a loop feed within a large portion of our service territory. This will allow us to flow power in either direction from Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association’s Waverly and Ramon Substations. This will substantially increase power reliability for most of our members and should help us cut back on outage times if we have a transmission-level event because it significantly improves our ability to feed power from southern to western areas within the Valley and vice versa.”

Earlier this year, a planned outage in the Carmel/San Acacio area allowed Tri-State crews to reroute power lines around the Waverly Substation to facilitate this next phase of line construction and to make needed Substation upgrades. No outages are associated with the work that will commence next week.

If future work on the project requires a planned outage, members will be notified in advance via the cooperative’s telephone messaging system and/or letters. Any member who is not certain if SLVREC has their most recent contact information is encouraged to call customer service.

Keeping your contact information up-to-date benefits both you and SLVREC.

SLVREC is a member-owned electric cooperative and has provided electricity to the San Luis Valley since 1937. The cooperative can be reached at 719-852-3538 or 800-332-7634. Alternatively, member services can be contacted via email: power@slvrec.com. The cooperative is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

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