Strengthening the System
The delivery of electricity is actually accomplished in just a few steps. It begins at a plant where the power is generated. From there, electrons travel along a transmission line to a substation where the high voltage is then stepped down to a lower voltage. Next, a distribution line channels the energy to its ultimate consumer. Then and there, a smaller transformer converts the voltage to a level suitable to serve a household, a farm, a business, or the like.
At Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, we focus on the distribution function. It’s our ongoing mission to keep getting better at doing just that.
An engineering assessment
For transmission, we look to our generation and transmission supplier, Central Electric Power Cooperative, to meet our needs. Today, after an engineering assessment and in accordance with specific requests we’ve made related to service reliability, Central Electric is preparing to undertake some significant system enhancements.
Within the next three years, we’ll see an existing substation in Oconee County undergo an extensive rebuild. During that period, and within the same general geographic vicinity, a second substation is scheduled to be erected and energized. In conjunction with those projects, a transmission line loop is to be constructed that will encompass much of the county’s middle and southern portions. Once that loop is in place, Blue Ridge will be able to back-feed the transmission system in the event of storm damage or other trouble. That back-feeding capability should then position the co-op to restore service much quicker.
On the drawing board
In addition, transmission work is on the drawing board for Oconee’s Salem area. A proposed five-mile-long transmission tie line would produce a similar back-feeding option for a number of Blue Ridge substations in that region. Plans also call for a complete rebuild of the transmission line that now feeds the cooperative’s Mountain Rest substation.
In Pickens County, work is already under way on a new transmission line to supply a Blue Ridge substation to be built in the Cross Roads community. These long-awaited facilities should be in service around the first of the year.
While all these jobs are in progress, our own co-op crews will be hard at work on multiple improvements to our distribution lines. We want to stay ahead of growth on our system, while we also seek to ratchet up the quality of service we’re providing to our existing members. I believe you’re going to appreciate these improvements.