Power company amps up Ranchos service
A power pole fire on Feb. 7, 2010, left Douglas County’s largest community without electricity for the better part of 14 hours, including most of the Super Bowl.
NV Energy officials hope that a $1 million project to triple the carrying capacity of the cable between two Carson Valley substations will allow them to prevent future long outages in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
“We determined two years ago during the Super Bowl Sunday outage that we couldn’t switch over because the line just wasn’t big enough to carry the amount of power we needed,” said NV Energy’s John Perra, who is the service manager for operations in the Carson region.
Perra said that the work will create a stronger tie between the Muller and Pine Nut substations to give the company the ability to switch sources when needed. The Pine Nut substation feeds the Ranchos.
“We’re increasing the line from 300 amps to 900 amps, which is enough to pick up the customers from the Ranchos,” he said.
By increasing the amperage of the conductor coming from the Muller Station, it will give power company crews the ability to shift which substation feeds the Ranchos and therefore shorten an outage.
The upgrade will require thicker wire and new poles to help support the wire.
“The wire will go from about the size of your finger to an inch in diameter,” he said. “The poles are a couple of feet taller, but not drastically so. What really draws the eye is the treatment on the poles is new and a lot darker. The new poles tend to stick out.”
Power company crews have been working along Highway 88 installing the new poles while the power lines are still energized.
The process requires that fiberglass extensions hold up the cable while a new pole is installed.
“We’ve got to keep the circuit hot while we move the pole, then we pull the conductor back in and the extensions go away,” he said.
The first phase of work will go along 88 south past Mottsville and will be done in about two and a half months. The second phase will take the new conductor south to Kimmerling and then east to the Ranchos along the power company’s current easement.
Perra said the project will provide the company’s 7,500 Ranchos customers with more reliable service.