Kingston substation to provide heat for the winter

KINGSTON — Residents in the North End should have no problem feeling toasty by the heater this winter as the Kingston substation moves ever closer toward providing a boost to the area’s electricity needs. Outlets in Hansville will especially be experiencing the rush, and locals there will no longer have to worry about using too much energy and causing a blackout.

Improvements to Miller Bay Road power poles were made over the summer to connect the new substation, located just north of the Kingston Albertsons, with the Gunderson Road substation, but that work is now complete and all energy is going into the Kingston site, said Puget Sound Energy spokesperson Gretchen Alaibadi.

“Currently, the site has been cleared and we’re working on the detention pond and distribution pond,” she said in mid-September. “In the next week or so, we’ll be starting the foundation. When it comes online at the end of the year, people in Hansville will have a lot more power.”

Hansville and Eglon homes and businesses now utilize an underwater line that runs between the area and Port Gamble and Salsbury Point, and can burn out if too much electricity is demanded from it. This hasn’t happened before, but residents have had to be careful how much power they use. That connection will still be in operation once the substation powers up, but it will be supplemented, and burning out will no longer be an issue. Alaibadi said the substation will be working before the end of the year, but it could be functional sooner.

“The substation project manager said everything is moving ahead as planned at the site,” said Greater Hansville Area Advisory Committee member Fred Nelson, who stays apprised of the work reports. “Currently, they’re working on the vaults and drainage for the site. All the materials are on site, and the transmission lines essential to the plan are complete from Gunderson Road to the substation.”

When finished, the substation will boast 25 megawatts, and will have room to double that as Kingston and Hansville continue to grow in the future. Alaibadi said it is doubtful more than that will be needed in her lifetime.

“Mainly during the wintertime, there’s a lot of usage, and it almost reaches capacity,” Nelson said. “There’s no immediate need for it right now, but we’re looking forward to it. It may not make a huge difference right away, but it will still be nice.”

Though power outages will continue to occur with winter weather and accidents, the electricity will be restored faster than when Hansville and Eglon depended entirely on the underwater cable. Alaibadi said PSE will continue to operate as it always has, namely making calls to Hansville residents to keep their energy usage in check, until the substation is up and running. At that point, she said residents can expect fewer phone calls.

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