Somebody asked me the other day what the activity at the Vine Street substation of Pacific Power was all about. The short answer is “construction.” The actual answer has to do with growth, and I got it from Pacific’s public affairs section in Portland.
There, Tom Gauntt, helpful as ever, told me that a contractor, PTI out of Woodland, Wash., was working on a project “to accommodate the recent load growth in the Albany downtown area as well as North Albany on the other side of the river. The project included a major piece of equipment (transformer) to keep pace with Pacific Power’s customers’ growing electrical needs now and into the next decade.”
So how many customers does the substation serve, and how many more can it handle when the expansion is done by the end of August?
“There are 5,854 customers fed out of the Vine Street substation. Obviously the number of additional customers will depend on the size and … type of customer, but the load on this station has been increasing over the last few years, and the 20 MVA transformer is about maxed out. We are replacing it with a 30 MVA. That will be a capacity increase of 50 percent.”
I had to look it up: MVA stands for “mega volt ampere” and, obviously, is a measure by which the capacity of transformers is rated.
How much is all this costing the utility, I wondered, but Gauntt demurred: “Sorry, not something we are going to disclose.” (hh)