A reliability project more than three years in the works is closer than ever to completion, thanks to some forward thinking and collaboration between PEC, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), and the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).
In the wee hours of the morning on Aug. 6, a major milestone was achieved when the combined crews set a 14,720-pound concrete pole that will be instrumental in connecting two substations.
The project will allow PEC to connect its Manchaca and Escarpment substations, which will eventually provide increased reliability for thousands of members in a rapidly growing area. By linking the substations, PEC will be able to balance the load between substations and backfeed power to members during an outage. In this instance, backfeeding means electricity would be supplied from the other substation, running in the opposite direction of its normal path in order to keep the power on.
“We are always looking ahead for ways to improve our reliability,” said PEC Lead Electrical Distribution Designer Eric Villanueva. “Smart planning means looking to the future and seizing opportunities. With Highway 45, we saw a unique chance to build a direct line that will make a big difference for our members.”
The idea for this project first came about when TXDOT announced its plans to extend Highway 45 from South Austin toward Buda.
Villanueva said that if everything goes according to plan, this phase of the project will be complete sometime in 2020, and the overall system improvement project will continue to be completed in phases. For now, many members will already see increased reliability thanks to the progress made so far.