You’ve probably heard the common adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That saying doesn’t apply to PVREA when it comes to the members we serve.
Did you know PVREA power lines cover nearly 2,000 square miles in Northern Colorado? We serve north up to the Wyoming border, south to Boulder, east to Kersey and west to Cameron Pass. In all those miles, we also maintain over 4,000 miles of power lines. That’s over enough power lines to reach from Fort Collins to New York City and back!
There’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining many miles of lines, but we’re up to the task. In fact, we have a renewed focus on maintenance in our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan. Here’s how we’re doing it.
Think of all the different power lines, or circuits, throughout our electric grid like an old Christmas tree light strand. On one circuit, if one house goes out, the rest go out. One section of the line gets hit by lightning and causes power to interrupt, and all homes and businesses on that same circuit also lose power. To eliminate this problem we are, what we call, sectionalizing our system. These upgrades to the system allow us to eliminate the Christmas tree light strand effect and we have been able to isolate and decrease outage time. When a line loses power, we are able to isolate a particular section of line and keep power flowing to the rest of the members on that line. The result is fewer blinks and fewer outages for all.
Tree Trimming & Vegetation Management:
PVREA’s tree trimming plan is a very important part of mitigating outages and maintaining reliable power. Trees oftentimes are the root cause of power outages. Weather, and even small critters, can cause trees to get into our power lines, causing outages. Keeping up on clearing tree limbs away from power lines is an important factor in maintaining reliable power for your home or business. It’s an ongoing process, and we’re committed to continuing the process over the years to improve our service to you.
We started installing automation technology on our system. When we experience a power outage, new automation technology allows us to reset breakers in the office as opposed to dispatching crews to do it manually. This has enabled us to get the lights back on quicker, and save costs on man hours. We have also started using drones to inspect poles, wires, transformers, insulators, and other equipment. This bird’s-eye view is very valuable to the co-op as we are able to pinpoint issues, allowing us to replace equipment before mother nature decides to damage it and cause an outage.
Throughout the year, our employees are focused on maintaining the local grid that powers your home and business – so when you flip on the light switch the power is there when you need it. And our numbers prove it – our reliability has increased 18% in the past three years – which means our members are seeing fewer outages.
While we can’t control mother nature or a car accident that takes down a pole, we will continue to be proactive in creating a sustainable grid that powers our everyday lives.
President & CEO