A new high-capacity electric transmission line was put in place today by Puget Sound Energy, adding more reliable power to 15,000 local businesses and 120,000 residents in Thurston County.

Set alongside Old Pacific Highway north of Yelm, the 230-kV line will reach from PSE’s St. Clair substation to an intersection point with the Bonneville Power Administration’s 230 kV transmission line to the south. The site's terrain and topography provide make the best and most efficient way to build this part of the line, said spokeswoman Heather Brickey.

Sections for a pair of 145-foot steel poles were hoisted into position using a construction helicopter from sister company Columbia in Oregon. The project, which began in 2009, was needed to serve the area’s growing need for power and to increase overall customer reliability.

Transmission lines move high-voltage electricity from power generation sources such as dams and wind-generating facilities to substations in area communities.

Substations contain utility circuit protection, voltage regulatio, and equipment that reduce higher voltage to lower voltage so it can be used by customers at homes and businesses.  

Washington state’s oldest local energy company, PSE serves 1.1 million electric customers and more than 760,000 natural gas customers in 10 counties. The company also plans four more enhancements to its transmission lines in the coming months, including a Lewis County upgrade to begin upon completion of this one.