AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - More residents and businesses in Gray and Wheeler counties now have more reliable energy.
On Mar. 2, Xcel Energy completed a major high-voltage transmission project they had been working on since 2012.
They installed a new 115-kilovolt, 38 mile transmission line between the Bowers Substation near Lefors and the Howard Substation in Wheeler.
Wes Reeves, Spokesman for Xcel Energy, said the line was greatly needed to support the economical growth in those counties.
"If you're a residential customer in Wheeler or in that area it does help with the reliability of the system, and you just know that you're in better shape than you were when you had a weaker power grid," Reeves said. "So it really benefits all customers classes and especially if it's helping to strengthen and boost the economy that helps create jobs, so it's all really tied together."
The new line should also create a more reliable power source for businesses in those areas.
"For business and industry it does bring in a greater supply of power and a more reliable source of power," Reeves said. "It strengthens network and so for instance, if we have a storm coming through and we lose a line we've got a stronger network that we're able to route power around, so it helps with the frequency and duration of transmission outages. It brings in more power for those communities to grow."
Reeves hopes the new line will support business expansion, but said it is important to take care of the business and people in the area first.
"We've got to serve what's already there and so we're doing that with this line, but we also have built it out enough that we know 10 and 20 years from now that it'll still be taking care of the businesses in that area," Reeves said.
This project is one of many the company has planned to create a first class power grid.
"We've made a list here of what we need to work on and we're working on those bit by bit and so we've got a huge amount of capitol investment that's been made and we still have quite a bit to go," Reeves said. "I would think in five to 10 years from now we can look back and say we really upgraded to first class power gird and that's really our goal here. The customers in this region and the communities deserve the very best and that's what we're seeking to provide them."
The project cost the company $39 million, and Reeves said customers will see an increase in their bills next year.
"At some point it will be reflected in the rates, but it will be reflected along with a lot of the other improvements we've made," Reeves said.
To learn about current and future projects in the Texas Panhandle visit Xcel Energy's website.