Puget Sound Energy upgrades electric system in Whatcom County with new Semiahmoo substation

Partners with City of Blaine to improve reliability

BELLEVUE, Wash. (March 9, 2010) – Puget Sound Energy today completed construction of a new $3.9 million substation in Blaine. The Semiahmoo substation, 4390 Birch Bay-Lynden Road, will improve electric system reliability and increase capacity in the Birch Bay and Blaine areas of Whatcom County.

"The completion of our Semiahmoo substation is an essential improvement to our infrastructure in Whatcom County," said Ray Trzynka, manager of local government and community relations for PSE. "It increases reliability for our existing customers in the Birch Bay and Blaine areas, and also allows us to meet future demand for electricity."

In a unique agreement between PSE and the City of Blaine Public Works, which provides electric service to residents and businesses within the city limits, one of the four distribution feeders from the Semiahmoo substation will serve city of Blaine customers. The other three feeders will serve PSE customers between I-5 and Semiahmoo Drive, and between Dayton Harbor Road and just north of Arnie Road.

"This project is a great example of efficient community planning of our critical electric infrastructure," said Trzynka. "The cost sharing arrangement with the City of Blaine is mutually beneficial for PSE and the City's customers."

With Semiahmoo, PSE now has four substations serving the Birch Bay and Blaine areas. The addition of the new substation reduces the load of each of the other three substations, which were nearing capacity, allowing PSE more flexibility in operating and maintaining the electric system in the area.

Work on the substation began in August 2009 when crews cleared and graded the site, constructed the substation, installed transmission lines, and restored the landscape. Semiahmoo has one 25 megawatt transformer with space to add a second 25 MW transformer, allowing PSE to double the capacity in the future without changing the substation footprint.

This summer, PSE expects to start construction on phase two of the project, which entails adding .5 miles of new 115 kilovolt transmission line on the north side of Birch Bay Lynden Road to Kickerville Road. The second transmission line will create a loop, meaning Semiahmoo can be served from two different power sources. If one transmission lines goes out, the substation – and all the customers served from the substation – can be served power from the second transmission line, again improving the reliability of service to customers in the area.

For more information, please visit PSE's Semiahmoo substation project Web page at: http://pse.com/inyourcommunity/whatcom/ConstructionProjects/Pages/Semiahmoo-substation-.aspx.

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state's oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service area stretching across 11 counties, Puget Sound Energy serves more than 1 million electric customers and nearly 750,000 natural gas customers. PSE, a subsidiary of Puget Energy, meets the energy needs of its growing customer base primarily in Western Washington through incremental, cost-effective energy conservation, procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service to deliver energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible.

Contact information

Gretchen Aliabadi, 1-888-831-7250