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Xcel adds grid capacity

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Xcel Energy has completed a $5.6 million grid improvement project that will boost reliability and alleviate voltage dips in north Hobbs, especially during the peak summer months.

The centerpiece of the project is the new Bensing Substation, located on North Bensing Road near West Lawrence Road roughly 10 miles north of downtown Hobbs. The facility is providing a new power source for irrigation and dairy customers north of the city that have experienced voltage issues because of the long distance power previously traveled to reach their meters. Bensing Substation also will relieve capacity constraints at substations to the south that serve residential and commercial load, ensuring that customers will have ample power supplies even on the hottest days of summer.

Previously, a large amount of the customer demand in north Hobbs, including the agricultural load north of the city, was served from two substations – Millen Substation, which is located on Millen Drive just east of North Lovington Highway; and Northeast Hobbs Substation, which is located off Del Paso Street just north of East Gamblin Street. With the addition of Bensing Substation, the distance between a power source and the irrigation wells and dairies north of Hobbs has been cut in half.

“The northern parts of the city had essentially outgrown the infrastructure that was put in place years ago to serve our customers there,” said Ben Jaime, Xcel Energy manager for Community & Economic Development in Hobbs. “We’ve been working with our city and county officials to determine the best way to alleviate the strain and improve voltage, and the solution was to put another power source in the north and shorten the distance power travels to reach the end customer.”

Along with the new substation and improved feeder lines, Xcel Energy has rebuilt and expanded eight miles of line and added additional switches that will help prevent overloads. On days when residential and commercial load strains local substations, the switches can be operated to shift load to other substations with more capacity.

“We mostly see overloaded lines and substations in areas with high growth, so it’s a good problem to have,” Jaime said. “Our role is to respond to this growth by making timely investments in the grid that allow us to serve existing load and make way for additional growth on the system.”

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