News Releases

Sierra Pacific Power Plans Electric System Improvements for Fallon

Jul 18, 2004

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Karl Walquist
Phone: (775) 834-3891

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Company plans to spend approximately $4.4 million over the next two years to increase the capacity and enhance the reliability of the electric transmission system that serves the City of Fallon.

"We're rebuilding portions of a 60,000-volt electric transmission line that serves Fallon and refitting it with larger diameter wires so it can carry a larger electric load," said Sierra Pacific Eastern District Manager Frank Gonzales. Along with Fallon, the company's Eastern District includes Fernley, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and Elko.

Although the City of Fallon and the Fallon Naval Air Station operate their own electric distribution systems, power is supplied to the city and Navy base by Sierra Pacific's electric transmission system. Sierra Pacific provides both transmission and distribution services to the rest of Churchill County.

Explained Gonzales,"Two 60,000-volt lines currently serve the Fallon area. If an outage affects one of the lines, we're able to shift the load to the other, newer line and keep electricity flowing to Fallon. However, the line we are rebuilding is older and isn't capable of transporting enough energy to keep the entire town in service when an outage affects the newer line. What that means is that some customers aren't back in service and must wait an extended time until the line is repaired. This project will correct that problem."

Sierra Pacific line crews will begin the reconstruction project in August. During the first phase of the project, they will rebuild 9.2 miles of transmission line, which runs parallel to Highway 50 from an electric substation near Lahontan Dam to the intersection of Trento Lane and the Reno Highway. Gonzales said crews will replace existing poles with approximately 160 new wooden poles, and install more than 150,000 feet of new, larger diameter"conductor" or wire. This phase of the project is expected to take up to three months to complete.

During the second phase of the project, crews will rebuild and"reconductor" another 1.4 miles of the line from Highway 50 near the Carson River south to Sheckler Lane, where the line is connected as a secondary source to the Fallon Substation. The Fallon substation is located near the intersection of Taylor Street and Sheckler Road. Construction of this phase of the project will begin as soon as the first phase is completed, Gonzales said. It's expected to be completed by late November.

In 2005, Sierra Pacific will rebuild 1.8 miles of the transmission line that extends from the Ray Couch substation on Highway 50 south to Sheckler Lane along the Sheckler Cut-off. This segment of line connects the two transmission lines that serve Fallon. Gonzales said this phase will require the replacement of 41 wooden power poles and the installation of 30,000 feet of new wire.

Construction began in early July on a separate project to improve electric service reliability to Fallon and the Navy base. Sierra Pacific is constructing a new 60,000- volt line about two-thirds of a mile long between the Fallon Substation and a substation located on Babb Place. To accommodate the new line, poles that currently support a 34,500-volt line along the same route will be replaced. Both the existing 34,500-volt line and the new 60,000-volt line will be strung on the new poles. Gonzales said this project will strengthen the electrical connection between the two substations and make it easier to shift electrical loads between the two facilities.

"All these projects should greatly improve the reliability of service to Fallon," said Gonzales."Because we're rebuilding one of the main transmission lines that serves the area, our electric system will be more flexible and we can switch from one circuit to another more easily when one of the transmission lines is affected by an outage."