OLYMPIA, Wash., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week's earthquake had very
modest impacts on the Bonneville Power Administration's transmission system.
Eleven BPA substations in the Puget Sound area sustained very minor damage
such as broken insulators. The reason BPA fared so well is simple:
"We've spent $2.5 million since 1995 hardening facilities to prevent
earthquake damage," BPA Vice President for Transmission Field Services
Fred Johnson said. "It's worth every penny. For example, the quake rocked some
of our big 500-kilovolt transformers hard enough to trip them off line just
from the oil sloshing around inside. But, because they were strapped to their
pads, we just reset them and they resumed operation. If just one had tipped
over, it would have cost more than a million dollars in damage."
Puget Sound is BPA's top priority because it's the part of the Northwest
considered most susceptible to earthquakes, said Leon Kempner, head of BPA's
seismic hardening task force. "We've strapped down and anchored major
equipment in all of BPA's 500-kV substations in the area," Kempner said.
"The program is obviously well worth it," Johnson said. "The fact that an
earthquake of this magnitude caused so little damage can be significantly
attributed to BPA's seismic program."
For a downloadable color photograph of BPA's (immense) 500-kilovolt
transformers at the agency's Covington Substation near Seattle, go to
SOURCE Bonneville Power Administration