Power poles, lines going in for reliability

I've noticed what appears to be new power lines springing up between the residential area behind Vista Pointe and Satellite Drive on the south flank of Roxy Ann Peak. Can you tell me what's going on? Is it providing more power or redundancy?

— Louise J., Medford

When big trucks and long poles appear in that part of town, people notice. At the Since You Asked desk, we presume that cougars, rattle snakes, deer and other critters that roam the area have noticed, too.

Pacific Power spokesman Monte Mendenhall tells us the new poles and lines are part of a $2.6 million reliability improvement project, not part of a new transmission line. He said the electrical utility is increasing the capacity of its existing Line 19 by increasing the size of the wire, or reconductor, to accommodate additional load.

Heavier wire will be installed between the Lone Pine substation near the intersection of Foothills and Lone Pine roads and the Roxy Ann substation above Cloudcrest and Cherry Lane sometime this week. Pacific Power will then complete the reconductor between Roxy Ann substation and Baldy Switching station.

Mendenhall said the work is part of a larger project to convert the transmission voltage from 69 kilovolt to 115 kilovolt on Line 3, which roughly follows Highway 99 between Medford and Ashland.

Once that job is done, Pacific Power will have the ability to transfer load from alternate transmission sources on the south end of Jackson County. As it stands now, he said, Ashland is served via Line 19, from Copco substation, which is a 115-kilovolt transmission source. With Ashland losing its Copco line, it will soon be picked up from an alternate source. "In utility terms, this means we will have transmission loop between Baldy and Ashland," Mendenhall said. "In customer terms, this means increased reliability."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.