AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Xcel Energy is working to complete system upgrades across Amarillo in time for peak summer demand, including completion of their new $9 million Western Street Substation.
The new substation is now in service at South Western Street and Southwest 45th Avenue, freeing up capacity at nearby substations and providing room for growth.
The new Western Street substation will provide a new power source in southwest Amarillo that allows Xcel to reroute existing feeder lines through this substation, as well as adding new ones. Xcel says this will relieve pressure on nearby substations that have been loaded almost to capacity these hot summer days.
Xcel is also working to upgrade lines in the San Jacinto area and other neighborhoods west of downtown Amarillo.
Xcel has spent years improving the distribution lines and transformers in the San Jacinto neighborhood and surrounding areas. These neighborhoods have been served off a lower voltage than the rest of Amarillo, so Xcel is working to upgrade the lines to a standard voltage that will boost the power-handling capacity of the system and speed up power restoration in the event of an outage.
Another new substation is under construction between Amarillo and Canyon to meet the rise in demand for electricity in that area.
Xcel broke ground this spring on the new Hunsley Substation north of Canyon off FM 2590. Growth in northwest Amarillo has led the company to upgrade substation breakers at the Bush Substation to boost that station’s protection system as more customers are connected.
“Even though economic activity slowed during the recent lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, electricity demand is already picking up as businesses reopen and our customers seek the comfort of air conditioning on these really hot days,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy Texas. “And as the strong growth we were seeing at the first of 2020 builds back in, Xcel Energy will be ready to power the growing economy now and well into the future.”
In addition to these projects, Xcel continues to replace old utility poles across the city that will last through severe weather and help prevent outages.
Xcel is currently working to replace poles in far north Amarillo along Cherry Street, but poles across the city have already tagged for replacement. They are on track to replace nearly 5,000 poles this year across Texas and New Mexico, four times the amount of pole replacements from earlier years.
“All this combined with ongoing substation improvements in east and southeast Amarillo are keeping our crews busy across all parts of the city,” Hudson said. “These efforts point to the strength of the Amarillo economy and the faith Xcel Energy has in our city’s future.”