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Cedar Mill News
Volume 3, Issue 4


April 2005

PGE boosts our juice

Two corners of Washington County are receiving major upgrades in their electrical service from Portland General Electric (PGE). The utility is doubling the capacity of a Bethany area substation, adding two new high capacity “feeder” lines and replacing two others that serve homes from Oak Hills to the West Hills. PGE is also installing larger wire between Hillsboro and Cornelius to improve reliability.

The feeder projects will increase service reliability for about 18,000 customers. Feeder lines are the “arterial roads” of the power grid, delivering electricity from substations to the neighborhoods. From there, they become smaller tap lines, the city streets of the system. Bethany Substation will increase its total number of feeders from three to five, while doubling the amount of power the station can send out.

PGE is also replacing two miles of feeder on Laidlaw and upper Saltzman roads by this summer with higher capacity line. Another mile on Laidlaw is scheduled for completion in 2006. Most of the lines head uphill into the growing Forest Heights and Thompson Road areas. Another line will increase service to the Oak Hills–Cedar Mill area.

“The project should reduce the most likely cause of outages in forested areas – shorts created by tree limbs,” said Ron Slattery, the project engineer. “We’re adding ‘tree wire’ on one stretch of Laidlaw Road. That’s a power line covered with a plastic coating so a windblown limb won’t short circuit the power line.” Reliability also will increase because the improved power supply and increased number of lines will make it easier to obtain back-up power should an outage occur.

Substations take power from the big transmission lines, which are the “freeways” of the power grid. The substations reduce the voltage and then distribute the electricity into the feeders, like spokes on a wheel.

Construction in the Bethany Substation, a new transormer, began in October 2004 will be on-line this summer.  Laying the related power line may cause some traffic delays on Laidlaw.

The Bethany and Cornelius projects represent a combined investment of $3.1 million. Each year, PGE spends about $180 million dollars in maintaining and improving its system, including upgrades in the distribution, transmission and power generation systems.


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The Cedar Mill News
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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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