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Amarillo, Texas-based Xcel Energy has spent $93.3 million completing high-voltage transmission line projects in an effort to boost reliability and capacity in the northwestern counties of the Texas Panhandle, where local communities and industries had outgrown the existing transmission infrastructure.

"We've seen tremendous economic growth in Dalhart, Dumas, Stratford and neighboring communities where local economies are being lifted by agriculture and energy-related industries," says Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Co., an Xcel Energy company. "The upgrades will allow these industries and the communities that sustain them to continue expanding as they take advantage of reliable, plentiful and low-cost power.”

According to Xcel, these and other transmission-enhancement projects across the region were identified as necessary improvements in a 2010 study by the Southwest Power Pool, the regional transmission organization that coordinates reliability on the transmission system serving portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service Co. subsidiary serves close to 100 communities in the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas and eastern and southeastern New Mexico. The company’s transmission system reaches even farther, taking in the Oklahoma Panhandle and portions of southwestern Kansas. The company will spend more than $2 billion upgrading generation, transmission and distribution facilities in almost every part of this area.

Northwestern Texas Panhandle upgrades include the following:

- A new 230 kV transmission line provides sustained reliable electric service to the growing load base of Channing and the surrounding rural areas between Channing and the communities of Dalhart and Dumas. The line, made up of two segments with a combined length of 75 miles, also improves transmission reliability and capacity to Dallam, Hartley and Moore counties. Segment I runs between the Dallam County substation, northwest of the city of Dalhart, and the Channing Substation near Channing. Segment II runs between the Channing and Potter County substations north of Amarillo. The two segments are constructed at 230 kV, but will initially be operated at 115 kV.

- A new Dallam-to-Sherman-to-Hitchland 115 kV transmission line enhances electric reliability to the existing and growing loads in Dallam and Sherman counties. Over the last eight years, the electrical load in the area has increased by nearly 24%, with an average annual load growth rate of 2.78%. The line, which runs between the Dallam County substation, northwest of the city of Dalhart, and the Sherman County substation, near the city of Stratford, provides an alternate electric transmission source to the communities of Dalhart and Stratford and provides additional transmission capacity supporting backup transmission services in Hartley and Moore counties.

- The recently completed Hitchland-to-Moore 230 kV transmission line serves load growth in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle areas. The route runs 62 miles between the Hitchland substation in the north-central Texas Panhandle area to the Moore County substation near Dumas. According to Xcel, this line is improving electric reliability in the area by providing a second 230 kV source to the Moore County substation. Additionally, the line supplements the operation of the 345 kV transmission line that connects the Potter County and Hitchland substations.



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