Work is underway to improve electrical service in Stanwood and on Camano Island.
Snohomish County Public Utility District is building the new Twin City Substation to replace the North Stanwood Substation.
“We’re going to get it out of the floodplain. It’s safer for the equipment, and it’s a better location for us and for the city of Stanwood,” PUD spokesperson Aaron Swaney said.
The North Stanwood Substation is an outdated distribution facility located in the floodplain just north of the Amtrak train platform, PUD officials said. The new substation will be out of sight near 7400 Pioneer Highway. It’s designed to increase normal and emergency capacities, strengthen ties, modernize facilities and improve service reliability, according to the PUD.
“They’re wiring the substation right now and electrical assembly. It should be done by fall,” Swaney said.
Once the Twin City Substation is energized and all customers are served, the North Stanwood Substation will be decommissioned, sometime in early 2022.
Swaney said that because Stanwood’s electricity is fed by many lines, it's more stable than Camano Island’s service, which is fed by one line. So when the power goes out in Stanwood, it often comes back on quickly because it can be rerouted.
“The electrical grid is a web. Our system operators are able to safely move power around. The problem on Camano Island is that it’s not a web — it’s a tunnel. When that goes out, the power goes out on the whole island,” he said, noting that it can take longer to make repairs.
The problem with Camano Island is there is no redundancy to get power out to the island, he said. Twin City Substation is the first step to improving electric service on Camano.
“In the future, PUD plans to install a redundant transmission line north of town. The plans are all drawn up and ready to go, but we’re negotiating with property owners for right of way,” he said.