Opinion

Distribution lines cause most power outages | Letterrs | Dec. 4

In a recent edition of the Kitsap Sun’s Bainbridge Islander, there was an article by Christopher Dunagan entitled, “City Hopes to Hold the Line on Heat Use.”

In this article, the author quoted Gretchen Aliabadi of PSE as saying PSE needed to move ahead with plans for a new substation and transmission line. She also said that whether or not capacity is increased, a new transmission line may be needed to reduce the risk of power outages during storms.

The capacity issue is being managed by the Bainbridge Island Energy Challenge team, which is working diligently to reduce energy usage during peak periods.

Asking to construct a new high-voltage transmission line is completely unnecessary and misleading, especially when PSE’s current reliability rate is 99.95 percent.

Using PSE’s own data, it has had only eight “transmission line” power outages during the last six years, averaging three hours per outage. That’s only 24 hours of outages in six years for an average of only four hours per year. This means that the current transmission line gives us power 8,756 hours out of the 8,760 hours per year – a 99.95 percent reliability rate.

What Gretchen is not telling you is “distribution lines,” not transmission lines, cause more than 90 percent of the power outages on Bainbridge Island. PSE only does “vegetation management” for these lines once every six years. Doing a better job of tree trimming on a more frequent basis will eliminate most of our power outages for these distribution lines.

None of the power outages we have had in recent weeks were caused by transmission line failure.

PSE has asked for an annual 7.5 percent rate increase effective April 2010. By putting in more sub-structure they can ask for even more. If PSE does need more capacity, it can easily add another 25 megawatt transformer at either the Murden Cove or Winslow substations.

From a health standpoint, the last thing Bainbridge Island needs is another high-voltage transmission line going past our schools and neighborhoods.

Lynn Long

Bainbridge Island

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