Posted on May 13, 2013

San Luis Obispo County: PG&E Nearing Completion of Cuesta Grade Electrical Project

PG&E crews are using helicopters to complete the electrical upgrade project.

PG&E is nearing completion of an 16-mile electric upgrade project in San Luis Obispo County that will provide more reliable service for customers while enabling the company’s equipment to better withstand the sometimes harsh conditions on California’s coast.

The construction of the Atascadero-SLO 70-kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line Reconductoring Project  began in 2011 and includes upgrading 70 kV transmission lines from Atascadero to San Luis Obispo, replacing 132 wooden utility poles with light duty steel poles, and replacing 41 out of 45 steel transmission towers.

The project is scheduled to be completed later this year. Besides improving reliability, the project will result in electric equipment, including wooden utility poles and power lines, that are less susceptible to degradation from salty sea air and wildfires.

The first phase of the reconductoring project included installing new transmission tower foundations and tower bases along an existing eight miles stretch of line from the top of Cuesta Grade to PG&E’s San Luis Obispo Substation, and replacing 4 towers with tubular steel poles within the City of San Luis Obispo.  The first phase also included replacing about 60 percent of the existing wood poles from Atascadero Substation to the top of Cuesta Grade with light duty steel poles.  The new steel poles are not susceptible to fire.

Project manager Lee Ellis spoke with reporters on Friday (May 10) about the upgrade efforts.

The final phase of the project involves replacing the existing steel towers and remaining wood poles, and then installing new lines along the 16-mile stretch from Atascadero Substation to the San Luis Obispo Substation. This final phase will use multiple helicopters transporting the new towers and crew members to the various locations along the Cuesta Grade where ground crews will complete the installations.

The (San Luis Obispo) Tribune recently wrote about the project and offered its readers a photo slideshow of the work.


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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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