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Puget Sound Energy electric distribution project

Bellingham Alley conversion

Winter 2015 project updates

  • Construction in the alley between Cornwall Avenue and Railroad Avenue was completed in July 2011.
  • PSE’s service provider, Potelco, will be managing the additional phases of the project and will provide regular updates to the community here.

Project overview

To increase reliability and meet current and future energy needs in downtown Bellingham, PSE is converting the existing 4 kilovolt (kV) electric distribution system to a 12.5 kV electric distribution system between Cornwall Avenue and Railroad Avenue from York Street to Maple Street. PSE partnered with the city of Bellingham on several phases of these electric system upgrades. The city provided the trenching that was necessary to install the system underground, including backfill and restoration. PSE’s service partner, Potelco, will manage the remaining phases of system upgrades.  

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Project map

PSE is rebuilding the distribution system to meet new federal electrical standards and to increase the capacity, safety and reliability of the electrical system in downtown Bellingham. The new electrical standards are required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This work is related to PSE’s State Street substation project which will also increase capacity and improve reliability of the downtown Bellingham area. PSE plans to rebuild the existing 4 kV distribution substation to meet current 12.5 kV system reliability standards.

What is a distribution line?

Distribution lines are critical links in the electrical system moving power from electrical substations through distribution transformers directly to homes or businesses. Unlike transmission lines, distribution lines typically carry less than 55 kV; PSE's distribution lines are typically 12.5 kV. Distribution lines can be installed both above and below ground.