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LP&L upgrading transmission lines in preparation for 2019

Lubbock Power & Light is about to begin rebuilding transmission lines across the city, which was part of the reason for the gradual increase in base rates the past few years.

The Electric Utility Board approved the first phase of upgrades — a $3 million contract to rebuild the 69 kv sub-transmission line from the COOP Substation to the Slaton Substation. The lines will be insulated for 115 kv, which is the intent for all upgrades.

“What this is, is going through our transmission system and upgrading all those voltages so that we’re best equipped to connect with the ERCOT system,” LP&L spokesman Matt Rose said. “It’s an upgrade of a transmission line that runs from two major substations and they’re two substations that are connected in such a place that would incorporate with any new transmission lines that would go out into the ERCOT system.”

According to information provided by LP&L, the contractors will rebuild about 3 miles of transmission line older than 40 years. They will replace every pole, insulator and conductor.

Rose said this is just the first of several capital improvement projects LP&L will undertake prior to 2019.

“This is going to be a process over the next few years as we go through our transmission system and we make these upgrades to make sure that when the time comes to flip the switch in 2019, that we have a system that’s reliable and a system that will allow us to flow electricity into the ERCOT market and back,” Rose said.

All transmission-related improvements are projected to cost about $23 million.

In this fiscal year’s budget, the Electric Utility Board approved a base rate increase of 5.75 percent, the second year of an estimated four years of the same increase. The base rate makes up about 30 percent of a customer’s electric rate. So for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, the change comes out to a $2.37 increase during summer months and a $1.76 increase during non-summer months.

Read full story at Lubbock Avalanche Journal