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Electrical outages planned

Posted: Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2013

MONTE VISTA -- Members of San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative may be affected by planned power outages on April 9 and again on April 11. The outages are required to make improvements to a transmission line that provides electric service from the Waverly Substation to the Stockade and San Acacio Substations.

The portion of the Valley east of the Rio Grande River and south of Highway 160, including all of SLVREC’s members in Costilla County and a small portion of members in Conejos County, will be affected. Other portions of the cooperative’s service area will not be impacted at this time.

The planned outages are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day; however, crews will work as quickly as possible and may be able to restore power earlier. At any time during the project, if it is possible to restore power to members, the cooperative will strive to do so.

Last October, similar work was planned in the same area. Then, SLVREC members worked together to minimize power use while the project was underway. Terryl Jensen, manager of system operations said, “When we informed our members of the impending outage, several of our largest power consumers made decisions to shift use to off-peak times or to cut use entirely. We were able to use a line designed to carry one circuit to pick up the load for seven circuits. Because our members worked so hard to conserve power, we were able to reroute power delivery and keep the lights on for the vast majority of our members. The only people who were affected by the outage were those who voluntarily cut back.”

SLVREC urges irrigation consumers not to use pumps or sprinklers on either day. By keeping loads at the lowest possible levels, SLVREC may be able to maintain power for the duration of this project. The cooperative has been contacting community leaders and businesses regarding the upcoming planned outages in April. However, because loads differ by season, it may not be possible for the cooperative to prevent a power outage as was done last October. Members are encouraged to be prepared for outages on both April 9 and 11.

During the work, even if the power is on, members should protect electronics and other equipment from fluctuations, blinks or other power disturbances by unplugging items. If unplugging the item is not feasible, surge protectors can protect equipment from surges. UPS (uninterruptible power supply) units can offer protection from voltage fluctuations or brief outages.

The work is being completed in conjunction with the Plaza to Waverly Project. SLVREC System Operations Manager, Terryl Jensen said, “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. 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 provides needed redundancy in our electric distribution system.”

Because crews will be working on lines that are normally energized at 115,000 volts, the outage is needed to create a safe working environment. The cooperative strives to minimize outage times and apologizes to all members who may be inconvenienced by this necessary work.

SLVREC members who will be affected and who have current phone numbers on file with the cooperative, will receive reminder phone calls notifying them of the planned outage from the cooperative’s interactive voice response system. The cooperative will send letters to affected members who cannot be reached by phone. Those who do not receive a phone call or letter should not be affected by the planned outage.

Those who have questions about which substation provides power to their home or business, call SLVREC customer service. A representative can check the account and update phone numbers and other contact information. Members who are not certain if SLVREC has their most recent contact information are encouraged to call customer service.

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

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