Xcel Energy is investing $600,000 in a multi-phase grid improvement project that is converting the electrical facilities serving Dalhart to a higher voltage.
“Dalhart has been successful in expanding its economy around core industries such as agriculture and transportation, and strengthening the power grid that supports this growth and job creation is vital not only to this one city but to the whole region,” said Jesse Shuffield, Xcel Energy manager for Community and Economic Development for the Dalhart area. “These improvement projects are aimed at updating aging infrastructure and providing the reliability and capacity necessary to sustain economic growth for years to come.”
Xcel Energy’s investment in the Dalhart grid is increasing the “electrical pressure” of the lines that serve the city, boosting the capability of the local grid to meet higher electricity demand from current and future customers without concern of straining the system. The upgrade is boosting the voltage level to a 15- kilovolt company standard, which also provides more options for tapping neighboring power sources in the event of an outage. Additionally, Xcel Energy also has more replacement parts for a 15-kilovolt system, which helps crews make quicker repairs in the event of outages.
Conversion work has already started in alleys west of downtown Dalhart. Once this work is completed, crews will start work on areas north of downtown. At the same time, Xcel Energy is surveying customer locations to ensure they are accurately recorded in the system. This data verification will be critical as the company prepares to invest in advanced meters in the coming years. Among the many benefits of advanced metering technology is the ability for grid operators to know when a customer is experiencing an outage without the customer calling it in.
Xcel Energy anticipates four distinct phases of conversion work in Dalhart that could take several years to complete. The company expects minimal interruptions to customers, but some jobs do require planned outages. When these outages are necessary, Xcel Energy field personnel will notify customers in advance through phone messages or door-to-door visits.
Once the Dalhart conversion project is complete, crews will have installed 200 new transformers and10,000 feet of new wire.