CEO’s Message – August 2023

Years of planning led to the installation of cutting-edge technology in the Wells substation, which will improve power quality and reliability for years to come.

We knew outages would be required to install the new equipment. Unfortunately, supply chain issues and the availability of specialized crews delayed construction, and those power outages had to be scheduled in less than ideal times.

As summer temperatures soar, I hope memories of those outages in the dead of winter are melting away. Before those memories fade completely, I want to share the benefits you will see thanks to your patience during those outages.

Some equipment replaced during the outages had been serving our friends and neighbors since 1958, while other equipment was installed in 1984. Although the equipment still worked as designed, so much has changed in the way we consume electricity that upgrades were becoming critical.

Please bear with me as I use a bit of industry jargon to explain the project and its benefits. Wells Rural Electric Company buys wholesale electricity from Bonneville Power Administration. Idaho Power Company delivers power from BPA to WREC over its transmission lines, which stretch over hundreds of miles. Voltage losses increase with distance. WREC persuaded IPCo to install state-of- the-art dynamic capacitors in the local substation to compensate for voltage loss and increase capacity. Dynamic capacitors help maintain constant voltage levels by adjusting to changing demand for electricity and rising temperatures instantaneously.

Before this substation upgrade, WREC’s highly-trained line crews manually switched capacitors on and off seasonally. This process worked well but increasingly sensitive electronic equipment—as well as your growing demand for electricity—requires more frequent adjustments that are better controlled by an automated system. This project also increased the capacity of the substation, enabling WREC to serve future development while maintaining affordable rates for existing members.

Your employees and board of directors understand outages are inconvenient, and we do our best to minimize outages. Because this substation upgrade was built with the future in mind, we don’t expect to have outages of this magnitude again for quite some time. However, occasional scheduled outages will always be necessary to safely complete maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

As always, when outages are necessary, your employees will do their best to make sure you have the information you need to be prepared.
Best wishes for a great summer!

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Office