News Releases

Sierra Pacific Power Rebuilds Power Line Serving North Lake Tahoe

Sep 10, 2008


Media Contact:
Karl Walquist (775) 834-3891 
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The helicopter that will be buzzing over the north shore of Lake Tahoe for the next several days is helping Sierra Pacific Power line crews rebuild a 60,000-volt electric transmission line that was originally built in 1950. The project is expected to improve the reliability of the electric system that serves the North Shore area.

According to Mike Smart, the utility executive responsible for electric operations at North Lake Tahoe, crews are rebuilding a 3.1 mile portion of the power line that stretches from a substation near the Tahoe City Y to Alpine Meadows on the hillside above Highway 89. They're replacing the wooden poles with rust-colored steel poles, ranging from 55 to 90 feet in height, and replacing old wire with aluminum wire, and a 14,000-volt electric distribution line attached to the same set of poles will be upgraded with stronger aluminum wire. 

The steel poles will be more resistant to damage during storms or wildfires. Additionally, trees along the power line right of way have been trimmed or removed to prevent outages during winter storms, Smart said.

The power line is located in steep, rocky terrain that's not accessible by truck. Crews have had to hike into the area to dig holes for the new poles which must be air lifted to the job site by helicopter from a staging area above Jackpine Street in Tahoe City, Smart said. Early next week crews will begin stringing wire between the 72 new steel poles, and they'll remove the existing poles and wire.

Construction is not expected to affect traffic on Highway 89. However, over the past few weeks about 50 electric customers located along the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Alpine Meadows have been affected by scheduled electric outages due to the project and that's expected to continue for the next couple of weeks."We appreciate their patience, and we're confident they'll enjoy more reliable electric service, along with other Sierra Pacific customers on the North Shore, when this project is completed in early October,"Smart said.