Altus is looking forward to more reliable electricity

ALTUS, Okla._The people of Altus are all too aware of the power outages, and blackouts they've had when it's peak air conditioning season.

So, the city has decided to replace an outdated electric substation that was built in the 1950's and spend nearly $2 million on a new transformer to better handle the load.

After sixty years, the city's oldest substation is just worn out. Just four months ago, the city spent $30,000 for repairs, only to watch it break down again. Superintendent of Electric for Altus Power, Dan Scott said the current plan is to place an additional transformer at the Tamarack Station along with a new circuit breaker to connect to the Park Lane Substation.

"That would give us a real good strong tie between the two stations and in the middle of them put a air switch that will put an open point in the wire," said Scott.

He says a new transformer was put in at Park Lane just four years ago, so it would be able to handle the load.

"So if this side over here goes out we can tie it to this substation. You see what I mean and get them people back on so of we lose Tamarack or Park Lane Substation we're able to back feed that electricity and get out customers back on," said Scott.

The new transformer will be built at the substation on west Tamarack and distribution lines will be upgraded from the Tamarack Substation to the Park Lane Substation and provide power for those customers that were previously serviced by the Nona Substation.

"A lot of our wire size is this, that's coming out of Nona, we're going to be upgrading to this. Difference in capacity, big difference," explained Scott.

The reason the new transformer is being put on west Tamarack is simple, that is where the growth is, north of town. He says they are hoping to lease a transformer until the end of September to make sure customers don't lose power.

"I'm afraid that in the peak part of summer we wouldn't have enough wire size to feed all of our customers and that's just something I'm not willing to flip a coin on," said Scott.

They will ask the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority for a loan to buy the equipment. In order to pay off the loan, electric bills would increase by $3.00 a month but only for a little over a year.

When they do make the switch to the new transformer, Altus residents should not experience any outages.