Bonneville Power Administration Proposes Richland
by Madeleine Hagen
RICHLAND, Wash. -- The Stevens Substation in Richland hums 24-7, keeping the lights on and power going for thousands of customers in Richland.
It's also the starting point for a proposed power line rebuild from the Bonneville Power Administration.
"We know we need to do something," Senior Spokesperson with the BPA Dough Johnson said.
He said the electricity is there, plenty of it - but the infrastructure is struggling to keep up.
"We got pretty close to our margins during the big heat dome event a couple years ago, so we've really reached the point where we have to do something in the area to make sure the lights don't go out," he said.
In the past five years, the BPA reported 15 unplanned outages that occurred along the Richland-Stevens Line. They said five of those outages happened during peak load in the heat of the summer.
"The Tri-Cities area is growing, and we are currently experiencing difficulty getting electricity into the area when it's extremely hot or when the system's constrained," Johnson said.
The BPA is proposing a rebuild of the three-mile line. A majority of it runs down Thayer Drive and would involve multiple property owners. The project is expected to cost anywhere from $15 to $21 million.
"Actually add a circuit to the line, so we're looking at larger structures that the line will hang on, possibly a slightly larger footprint and we want to have these conversations with residents and business owners sooner rather than later to come up with something we can all live with so we can go forward with the project," he said.
A fact sheet on the proposed project shows residents what the new power poles would look like. Taller, steel poles would replace the old, wooden ones. The BPA said most of the poles wouldn't be in the same spots.
They want to make sure those affected are on-board with the project.
"We want the best solution possible for operation of a power line but also for people who work and live around them," Johnson said this is where the importance of the public comment period comes in. It lasts until April 26th.
According to the Bonneville Power Administration, the new line would be more reliable, efficient and secure than the current system in place.
Upgrades would be made to multiple substations throughout Richland.
Residents can learn more, ask questions and weigh in on the proposal, Wednesday April 12th at the Richland Public Library from 6 to 8 PM.
You can also submit public comment here.
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