Davis commission accepts plan for Farmington substation expansion

Mar 13 2012 - 7:09pm

FARMINGTON -- The development of Station Park and a 300-home residential subdivision has Rocky Mountain Power putting the finishing touches on an expansion that will double the serving capacity of its Farmington substation.

The project, scheduled for completion this spring, through equipment upgrades and a 20 percent perimeter expansion, doubles the capacity of the Farmington substation near 50 N. 200 West, officials said.

On Tuesday, Rocky Mountain Power Regional Community Manager Steve Rush appeared before the Davis County Commission and shared the company's "community plan" for the 2012 year.

The commission accepted the power company's plan, which includes coordinating tree trimming efforts with county staff, working with commissioners and staff to ensure coordinated planning efforts and meeting power needs, and continuing a strong corporate citizenship through the support of economic development activities, chamber of commerce legislative activities and Hill Air Force Base.

But it was the Farmington substation expansion that dominated most of Tuesday's discussion.

Periodically, the power company has to go in and make upgrades to stations, which can involve an actual physical expansion in cases where property is available, Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said.

In situations where no property is available to expand, Eskelsen said, the company makes equipment upgrades to provide the power needed for the surrounding area.

Work on the Farmington substation, which began in November 2011, has involved both approaches.

New electrical connections with the expansion are expected to be complete in April, Eskelsen said.

"After that, technicians will test all of the new equipment to make sure it's in service prior to the summer peak season," he said. "Generally, these expansions are completed with little or no interruption to local service." With the Farmington project, Eskelsen said, the company has also changed out its perimeter chain-link fence for a decorative screening wall. But in expanding the physical size of the substation, the company had to alter a section of the Farmington Nature Trail cutting through its property, he said.

"We have had to change the alignment of the Farmington Trail," Eskelsen said.

Despite perception, Rush said, the power company never builds more substations just for the sake of building.

"We follow growth; we do not get ahead of it," Rush said.

In having ongoing dialogue with community leaders, Rush said, the company is given long lead times when it comes to addressing future needs.

"But even looking ahead, we are still following," he said.

"Our intent is to be the best utility company in the nation," Rush told commissioners.

Out of the Western region's 12 largest electric utilities, Rocky Mountain Power ranked fourth-highest in customer satisfaction, based on a J.D. Power 2012 customer satisfaction study.

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