Tucson Electric Power (TEP) recently completed construction of a new 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Pinal County that will strengthen service reliability for customers in southern Arizona.
Extending more than 40 miles from the Pinal Central Substation east of Casa Grande to TEP’s Tortolita Substation, southeast of the Red Rock area, the $76 million project is designed to let TEP meet Tucson’s future energy needs, along with several additional line upgrades planned to better handle increased energy delivery via the Pinal-Tortolita link.
Crews suspended high-capacity conductors from more than 180 steel poles and structures – each 150 to 190 feet tall – along a route approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission to build the line. TEP plans to energize the line in November once the $61 million Tortolita Substation expansion is completed.
Since early 2012, TEP has invested more than $450 million in transmission and distribution system upgrades. These investments have helped the utility accommodate changing energy needs, while preserving reliability and speeding service restoration in potential outages.
Additional improvements to TEP’s infrastructure planned this season include replacing wooden poles with metal poles and accompanying new overhead power lines, and upgrading underground cable, transmission poles, and related equipment in about half a dozen locations.
When complete, the improvements will benefit an electrical system spanning 1,555 square miles. With 5,100 miles of transmission and distribution lines, more than 4,300 miles of underground cable, and almost 100,000 power poles and transmission structures,TEP provides electric service to approximately 417,000 customers in southern Arizona.