by Lorraine Masonheimer
Background - - In the last five years, Xcel Energy has applied and been granted two expansions to increase voltage in the Castle Pines North (CPN) transmission corridors. In 2005, Xcel requested a significant increase in audible noise levels for the second expansion. Bruce Thompson, as a board member of the Master Association, fought to cap the noise limit at 55 dB (decibels) at the edge of the Right Of Way (ROW) for the CPN Daniel’s Gate Midway power corridor regardless of future expansions.
In early May, Xcel Energy submitted a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to expand the power lines that border Castle Pines North (CPN) along the Daniel’s Gate corridor.
Metro District Vice President Bruce Thompson said Xcel plans to replace the existing single circuit transmission line with a dual circuit transmission line which will run west from Daniel’s Gate Substation to the Waterton Substation. The Daniel’s Gate Substation is located just off Monarch Boulevard north of Daniel’s Gate. The neighborhoods affected are Serena, Tapadero, Turquoise Terrace and Jasper Pointe.
Xcel Energy’s plan minimizes the impact of noise pollution and EMFs (electromagnetic fields) to CPN residents. The PUC set the noise limit for the Daniel’s Gate Midway corridor at a maximum of 55 dB and EMFs to a maximum of 150 mG (milligauss)—Xcel Energy’s plan holds audible noise to 49.8 dB and EMFs to 30.3 mG for the Daniel’s Gate Waterton corridor.
The proposed expansion is required to meet the growing energy demand for the Front Range. “Intervening would be ineffective,” said Thompson. “Xcel has put together a workable plan keeping noise and EMFs within reasonable levels.”
Once the expansion is complete, Thompson said the Daniel’s Gate corridor will reach its maximum capacity. “Xcel can’t expand much beyond this project,” he said. “But, you can never say never.” The smaller wooden lines in the area belong to IREA (Intermountain Rural Electric Association) which currently has no plans to expand lines within CPN. Thompson will continue to monitor the project and provide progress reports to the Master Association and residents.
The PUC is expected to make a ruling in December 2007. If approved, the project will be complete in May 2010. Construction is expected to take three to four months, weather permitting.
For more information about Xcel’s plans or to vote for brown or silver poles, e-mail email@example.com as soon as possible. To learn more about potential health effects of EMFs, go to www.niehs.hih.gov/emfraid/booklet/homt.htm. How it works-Transmission lines are large power lines that move power at high voltages from power plants, where the power is generated, to neighborhood substations. At substations, the voltage is lowered to safe levels and power is moved through distribution lines to homes and businesses.Who is PUC?The Public Utilities Commission oversees utilities in Colorado. The Colorado Revised Statutes mandate PUC must give paramount consideration to the public interest to achieve reasonable balance between the needs of Colorado customers for safe and reliable utility services at reasonable rates and the needs of utility service providers (Xcel Energy) to earn a reasonable profit and to sustain a reliable utility infrastructure throughout Colorado.
To learn more about the history of Xcel and powerlines in CPN, please go to news archives at www.cpnhoa.org.