Bonneville Power Administration: Earthquake Preparedness Pays!

Mar 05, 2001, 00:00 ET from Bonneville Power Administration

    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:
 preparation works.
     "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