Minimizing outages priority for utilities

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Over the next four years, Los Alamos County will be fitted for a new electrical backbone.

In an effort to reduce the impact of power outages and replace aging equipment, the department of public utilities conducted a condition assessment of the electric distribution system in 2006, from which a prioritization scheme was developed to begin renewing the electrical infrastructure in Los Alamos.

“We tried to get an idea of where we were getting hit the hardest, what was causing it and how it dominoes down the system,” deputy utilities manager Steve Cummins told a group of businessmen at Fuller Lodge Tuesday.

Cummins said the replacement of old conductors and the addition of new switches in several circuits would minimize the impact that power outages have in business districts throughout Los Alamos.

He mentioned that a power outage last month that resulted from an uprooted Ponderosa tree that interfered with power lines was a perfect example of the type of outage the future upgrades would minimize, if not eliminate.

Rather than a quarter of the town losing power, only a small, controlled area near the outage would be affected, Cummins said.

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