Upgrading Reliability in Northwest Reno

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May 17, 2017

Meeting the electricity needs of customers is a never-ending balancing act. A good case in point are some recent improvements made to a couple of existing 25,000-volt lines in the northwest Reno and Stead areas. 

Because of customer growth and increasing requirements of some large business customers, NV Energy engineers, designers and crews determined that one of its lines and a substation transformer were running at increasingly higher capacities. While the electricity system was still able to handle the “customer load,” NV Energy planners always consider contingency plans in the event that errant vehicles, snow damage or high winds cause such a line to go out of service. The back-up line and related transformer used to re-route the power would not have the capacity to handle the entire electricity needs of customers in that area.

The solution required careful planning and coordination over a two-year period from personnel in the company’s Distribution Design, Land Resources and Lines Construction work groups. An over simplified explanation would be that crews replaced about a mile of lower-capacity power lines with higher capacity “conductors.” That was not an easy task. The work entailed two overhead railroad crossings and needed to be carefully timed to avoid customer outages and to replace not only the power lines, but power poles, cross arms, other hardware and related equipment.

This additional flexibility – and many similar projects going on routinely by NV Energy crews – help NV Energy continue to rank in the top 10 percent of most reliable energy companies in the nation, all while keeping rates low for customers.