Kentucky power company proposes update for decades-old local power grid

Kentucky

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WOWK) — In the Bluegrass State, a major power company is proposing some upgrades to bring a section of their power grid up to speed.

Kentucky Power officials say they are continually monitoring their power grids and figuring out where updates are needed.

Now, they are pushing for a large rebuild and upgrade between Floyd County and Knott County, Ky.

“It’s the Garrett Area Transmission Improvement Project that’s going on between Soft Shell here where we’re at and back toward Eastern. We’re proposing to rebuild the transmission infrastructures,” says Bob Shurtleff, external affairs manager for Kentucky Power.

This proposed project is now much needed in the area:

“Some of the poles were set in here in the ’30s and ’40s and so we systematically go through and we’re changing out poles but this is one of the projects that we’re looking at to do a complete rebuild,” Shurtleff says.

This project would include rebuilding around 15 miles of 138-kilovolt electric transmission line, retiring around 25 miles of the old transmission line and its deteriorating poles, upgrading and expanding several substations, and building a new substation in the community of Eastern.

Without these upgrades, the system becomes weaker and more prone to outages.

“You’re losing that ability to take impacts, you’re losing that ability that it was designed for, so we’ll go back with steel structures and have it for the next number of years,” Shurtleff says.

Kentucky Power is currently in the process of speaking with customers and landowners about where the best route for the new transmission lines will be.  

After that, the proposal goes to the Kentucky Public Service Commission for approval.

Locals of the area say the prospect of more reliable power and less outages is a good one.

“It goes off every time we have a storm. It doesn’t matter what power company you’re on, it goes off and in this hot weather it’s hard on us, you know, older people and the babies,” says Pam Wiley, resident of Floyd County, Kentucky.

“It gives it it’s strength back to where design standards are today,” Shurtleff says.

Officials say this project should not affect customers bills much, if at all.

They plan to apply for project approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission this fall, and if all goes well, construction would begin summer of 2023 and finish up at the end of the year in 2024.

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