Xcel eyes 2014 upgrades

PNT staff

Xcel Energy officials are marking summer 2014 as the completion date for the first leg of its $33 million transmission project in Portales.

The project, which was initially announced in July, will improve the city’s electric transmission system by completing a transmission loop around the city that helps ensure service reliability, according to Xcel Spokesman Wes Reeves.

The project will address the needs of the growing population in the Portales area, Reeves said.

Reeves said the first portion of the project will be the nine-mile 115-kilovolt line that will go from the substation on Kilgore to the Portales substation.

Reeves said officials hope to have that in service by 2014, but said land acquisition issues are delaying the project’s start.

“It’s a three-member commission that will determine the value of the land that we’ll need for construction,” Reeves said.

Reeves said one of the benefits of the project would be the stronger connection among the substations that will create better reliability in the event of an emergency or bad weather.

“It’s critically important we get these done. We’ve really outgrown the system,” Reeves said. “Many of these facilities have been put in 30 to 40 years ago. We don’t see the existing system serving the city’s future needs.”

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