Results of the customer outreach from the 2015 - 2019 Strategic Plan indicated that 'customer-owners were most interested in replacing or rerouting some electric lines to protect against fire and weather risks". As a result, Chelan PUD conducted a fire risk assessment of the PUD’s high voltage electrical transmission system in 2017. The study provided the PUD with a list of transmission line segments that are candidates for fire hardening improvements. These improvements will minimize power outages, shorten outage durations, and improve the resiliency and reliability of the PUD’s transmission system. The transmission system between Chelan Falls and Union Valley was one of several projects identified in the study.
The past decade has brought many large wildfires to Chelan County. The wildfire of 2015 in Chelan burned both transmission lines that serve the Lake Chelan Valley. Power was out for over 36 hours while the first line was restored. The second line took eleven days to restore. Outages of this duration can have impacts to commerce, tourism, healthcare, agriculture and the quality of life of all who live in the Lake Chelan Valley.
What's Happening Now
On March 13, 2019, PUD staff held an informational drop-in session to gather community input on the Chelan Transmission Fire Hardening project, as well as the proposed Chelan Dam Substation. View an informational presentation here.
This PUD is seeking community input in 2019 to determine if there is support for a project to harden the transmission system serving the Chelan area against fire. If so, design would occur in 2020 and 2021, with construction planned for 2022.
The PUD is seeking community input and feedback on several options aimed at reducing the severity and duration of power outages associated with the transmission system during wildfires. You can also learn about our other fire hardening projects here.