The new interchange being constructed by Xcel Energy north of Navajo Refining at 606 E. Richey Ave. (Tyler Green - Daily Press)

ARTESIA — An Xcel Energy construction project near Artesia aims to improve the reliability of electricity service to homes and businesses, leaving them less vulnerable to prolonged outages.

A new power interchange near Navajo Refining and two high-voltage power lines will close a transmission loop that, when completed, will provide redundant service to all customers in the area.

The project involves the new interchange, called Eagle Creek, located north of the refinery at 606 E. Richey Ave. and the construction of a new 21-mile 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line stretching from the Seven Rivers Substation south of Artesia to Eagle Creek where it will terminate. Additionally, four miles of new 69kV lines will boost reliability between the new Eagle Creek station and outlying substations that serve Navajo and the city of Artesia.

Currently, the area is served by a single 115kV line that feeds power from the Eddy County Interchange southeast of Artesia. If a storm or other unplanned event interrupts power on the line, Xcel Energy is not able to reroute enough power from other directions to completely restore service until damage to the single line is repaired. This leaves the Artesia area vulnerable to potentially long outages. With the redundant service provided by the new lines, Xcel Energy can switch power sources quickly and restore service in the area before repairs are made on the damaged line. … For the rest of the story, subscribe in print and on the web.