By David Kligman
OAKLAND—PG&E delivers electricity for millions of homes. But it’s also the source of energy for companies large and small.
In Oakland, the utility is busy making important electric upgrades that will benefit one of its biggest business customers—Kaiser Permanente.
The medical provider approached PG&E last year to increase the electric load to accommodate needed power for its new flagship hospital.
And that’s exactly what PG&E is doing. [See the above video from Currents videographer James Green.]
The work is happening along city streets where electric workers are busy upgrading equipment and making way for new higher voltage lines.
Meanwhile, major work is happening at the utility’s substation in the Temescal neighborhood. Much of the 1923 substation was recently cleared to make room for new equipment that will upgrade the electric capacity in the area from 4KV to 12KV.
The electric upgrade will provide a more modern system for those who live in North Oakland and parts of Berkeley.
“It adds reliability to our system,” PG&E project manager Ken Forward said. “It keeps our maintenance and operation costs low. There are less outages and impacts to our customers because we have a newer, reliable system.”
But residents in the community will also benefit from the work.
And as part of the project, P-G-and-E has volunteered to completely enclose the substation from the public, replace trees and a sidewalk damaged from the tree’s roots along busy 51st Street near the substation. The utility also will add needed lighting to the area.
Several miles away, Kaiser Permanente is hard at work building its medical center, which will rely on the added voltage to power everything from office lights to MRI machines. Company officials say energy savings are part of the project plan for the new facility, which will be 38 percent more efficient than a typical building of its size.
“Energy efficiency is important to us because it goes back to our mission statement, which is to improve the communities that we serve,” said Kaiser project director Michael Lane. “We really want to minimize our impact on the resources.”
PG&E’s electric upgrade will be completed well in time for the opening of Kaiser’s new hospital and medical offices near downtown Oakland in 2014.
“Making sure that they get up and running to take the next steps to providing service to the community is what’s great about a project like this,” Forward said.
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.