PSE's plan won't improve reliability | Letters | April 30
April 30, 2010 · 11:01 AM
This is in regards to Jasper Cutter’s letter (“NIMBYs stand out, even in the dark,” April 16).
Absolutely right! Don’t spend $11 million of our money to solve problems which can be solved in a modern way for a much cheaper price. Not in my backyard, or anywhere in the PSE domain for that matter, because we will all end up paying for it. PSE is a publicly regulated utility and is guaranteed a return on its investment. Every time PSE makes any expenditure, you and I will eventually pay for it.
As I have stated before, the proposed PSE projects will not substantially improve reliability on the island. The way PSE reports outages to the utility commission is number of customers times hours of outage. So if a transmission line is out for two to four hours (the average is three hours), it is at least a third of the island. That gives a big number. But if your block is out for five days that gives a small number in comparison so it’s off the utilities commission’s screen.
Mr. Cutter, I recommend that you drive to the Winslow substation, which provides your power. The lines from the east with the big insulators are the 115,000-volt transmission line bringing you power from off the island.
The other lines radiating out with the smaller insulators are the 12,500-volt lines to yours and other neighborhoods. They are all above ground. That power is only taken underground in the vicinity of your home. If you want to see real reliability on this island, we have to bury the distribution lines from the substations to our homes.
PSE is working with us to develop those lower cost alternatives, especially for eliminating the need for a new substation. If we lower peak demand (some 10 hours out of 8,760 hours in a year) an additional substation is not needed. Turn down the thermostat? Why not? We are only talking about a few hours a year. Then we can take the money saved on the two projects and use it to bury our distribution lines, finally stopping the long-term power outages.
As far as data, we (Community Energy Task Force) have reams of that provided from PSE and what we have collected elsewhere. Demand Response was used for two days last winter. It was very successful. I am happy to share all data with anyone. All of our meetings have been open.
There are a number of public meetings coming up. Also try to attend programs by Community Energy Solutions.
Stephen A. Douglass, Ph.D.