Construction begins on new $3.9 million PSE substation to improve electric system reliability and increase capacity in Whatcom County

BELLEVUE, Wash. (Sept. 2, 2009) – Puget Sound Energy customers in the Blaine and Birch Bay areas of Whatcom County will soon benefit from an upgraded electric system as the utility this week begins constructing a new $3.9 million substation at 4390 Birch Bay-Lynden Road, Blaine. PSE’s new Semiahmoo substation will improve reliability, and increase system capacity to meet current and future electricity needs in the Whatcom County area.

“Constructing Semiahmoo substation is an important investment in our energy delivery infrastructure to increase reliability for our existing customers and help meet the future demand for electricity in the area,” said Ray Trzynka, manager of local government and community relations for PSE.

This construction project is one of six PSE currently has underway in Whatcom County. Other electric reliability and capacity enhancing projects include:

  • Converting the existing 4 kilovolt (kV) electric distribution system to a 12 kV electric distribution system in three areas of downtown Bellingham;
  • Upgrading the existing low voltage 55 kV substations and transmission lines in the Bellingham area to 115 kV;
  • Building a new electric distribution substation in Lynden;
  • Rebuilding 23.5 miles of existing 115 kV transmission line between Sedro-Woolley and Bellingham; and
  • Upgrading the Viking substation and constructing a new 115 kV transmission line in Bellingham.

Work on the new Semiahmoo substation will include clearing and grading the site, installing a new substation and transmission line connection along the south side of Birch Bay-Lynden Road, and landscaping. When complete, the substation will have one 25 megavolt amperes transformer, with room to add a second transformer to later double the capacity of the substation within its current footprint. Existing transmission lines along Kickerville Road will bring power to the substation, where it will be lowered to voltages to serve local customers.

Construction will take place during weekdays, with some select activities on the weekends. Crews will access the substation site via county streets, using signs and flaggers to direct traffic when needed. The substation project is scheduled to be completed by year end.

For more information about PSE infrastructure improvement projects, please visit


Gretchen Aliabadi, 1-888-831-7250

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state’s oldest local energy utility, Puget Sound Energy serves more than 1 million electric customers and nearly 750,000 natural gas customers in 11 counties. A subsidiary of Puget Energy, PSE meets the energy needs of its growing customer base 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 and delivering energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible.