$4 million electrical upgrade for Sehome residents

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (Mar. 13, 2008) - More than 3,000 customers in the Sehome neighborhood of Bellingham effective today are powered by Puget Sound Energy’s newly rebuilt Sehome substation and upgraded electrical distribution system.

“The upgrade of the Sehome substation and distribution system will improve system reliability now and increase system capacity in anticipation of additional load growth for the residents and businesses of Bellingham,” said Sue McLain, senior vice president for operations at PSE. “Our investment in local infrastructure demonstrates our continuing commitment to the community and its growing energy needs.”

The $4 million dollar project is part of PSE’s upgrade of Bellingham’s electric distribution system from 4 kilovolts (kV) to 12 kV. The old system was not built to handle the capacity to serve the growing area. The new upgrades will increase reliability and more than double the area’s electric system capacity. Additionally, part of the project was the complete rebuild of the Sehome substation with new, state-of-the-art equipment. PSE has plans to increase the reliability of the substation even more by creating a transmission loop through the substation. Currently the Sehome substation is served radially, which means it is served by one transmission line – a 115 kV transmission line that runs along Boulevard Street. PSE will add less than one-half mile of a new transmission line running northwest across Boulevard Street to Wharf Street then to Cornwall Avenue where it will connect to a second, existing 115 kV transmission line.

This new transmission line will create a "loop", which means the substation will be fed by two transmission lines. If one line goes out, the other line will automatically feed the substation and customers. The transmission line work is expected to be complete by the end of 2008.

In March, PSE expects to complete the transformation of the area from 4 kV to 12 kV distribution lines when the company upgrades the area along N. State Street from Warf Street and E. Laurel Street (see light gray shaded area on map). The upgrade will require PSE to temporarily shut off the power to this area. PSE will provide notice to residents in the area prior to the scheduled outage.