Tri-State transmission system intact during historic floods

One Tri-State operated line has been de-energized, approximately 20 miles west of Kersey, Colo.

One Tri-State operated line has been de-energized, approximately 20 miles west of Kersey, Colo.

In the midst of the historic flooding events impacting thousands of residents across the state of Colorado, Tri-State’s transmission system has stayed “fairly well intact,” according to operations dispatch manager Michael Houglum.

To date, the operations department is reporting only two Tri-State-operated transmission lines that are de-energized. One is a tap off the Weld-Willoby 115-kV line approximately 20 miles west of Kersey, Colo., in Weld County and the other is a 115-kV line between Del Camino and Rinn Valley east of I-25 near Longmont.

Despite being flooded, the Sterling Substation has remained operational.

Despite being flooded, the Sterling Substation has remained operational.

Flooding has occurred at the Sterling Substation in eastern Colorado, which is owned by WAPA but serves Tri-State member systems Highline Electric Association (Holyoke, Colo.) and Morgan County REA headquartered in Fort Morgan.

“The substation is still energized and we think Western can keep it energized as long as the water does not rise anymore,” said Keith Carman, Tri-State’s senior manager of transmission system operations.

A number of Tri-State member systems own many of their own 115-kV lines, which are more likely to be impacted by floodwaters. However, as the past few days have proved, conditions can change by the hour and even by the minute.

“As the water goes east, I’m thinking we may start running into more problems,” Houglum said. “The South Platte hasn’t crested yet.”

Most of the other affected transmission lines in the most dramatically impacted areas are operated by WAPA and municipal power supplier Platte River Power Authority (Fort Collins, Colo.).

Several Colorado towns, including Kersey, have been devastated by the historic floods of 2013.

Several Colorado towns, including Kersey, have been devastated by the historic floods of 2013.

Crews from Highline Electric and Morgan County REA, along with Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.) and United Power (Brighton, Colo.), have been working around the clock to keep the power on for their member-consumers.

The Morgan County REA operations department has reported one outage in Goodrich due to flooding, which is impacting approximately 20 meters.

According to Poudre Valley REA’s outage map on Monday, close to 1,000 meters are without power from as far north as Poudre Canyon Highway, south to the Diagonal Highway between Longmont and Boulder, east of Kersey and multiple areas in between.

United Power has been addressing numerous outages since last Thursday, with road closures being the biggest challenge for the co-op’s crews. Following yet another storm on Sunday afternoon, power outages affected customers in Erie, Broomfield, Brighton and Tri-Town. Some equipment remains submerged and power cannot be restored in those cases until water dissipates.

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