Planners in Springville and Spanish Fork, two communities about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City, are making improvements to ensure that electricity keeps flowing uninterrupted to meet current and future demand.
The towns have had their own power generation and distribution networks since the early 1900s, with a combined power customer base of about 25,000. Those networks also serve the bedroom communities of the larger nearby metropolitan areas of Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem.
Last summer, Utah-based electrical contractor Cache Valley Electric (ranked 95 on ENR’s 2009 Top 600 Specialty Contractors list) and crews from Springville began work on the first in a series of upgrades to the substations. Cache Valley Electric completed concrete foundation and aluminum bus work for a $1.9-million upgrade of Springville Power’s Dry Creek Substation. Workers from Springville finished the line work and will have a new transformer installed and commissioned this fall.
Blake Anderson, safety coordinator and operations manager for Southern Utah Valley Power Systems, of which Springville is a member city, says dividing the work and having city crews complete the job has saved the city money and allowed for the upgrade in tight budget times.
“Some of this work was new to us, but we saved a lot on labor by directing it ourselves,” Anderson adds. “The concrete and the bus work were out of our league, but the other work we’ve been able to handle.”
Anderson says the upgrade will bring the service to the two towns to a level known as “N -1,” which “allows for one transformer or another component of the system to go down and we’ll still have capacity to deliver power.”
The Dry Creek Substation takes 46 kV power off the statewide grid maintained by Rocky Mountain Power—a subsidiary of Portland, Ore., based Pacific Corp. and part of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.—and reduces it to 138,000 volts for transmission through municipal lines.
Anderson says that once Dry Creek is commissioned, the next upgrade will be at the Nebo Substation in the nearby city of Payson. It will be the first upgrade at the Nebo power plant since its completion in 2004.