Panhandle Reliability Improvement Project

Oklahoma Panhandle

Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) members in the Oklahoma Panhandle regularly contend with severe weather, including ice storms, tornados, and harsh winds that often exceed 30 miles per hour. In the past, such severe weather disrupted electric transmission service in the region for days and weeks. In 2017, two back-to-back winter storms caused significant transmission problems, leaving a combined 27,000 customers without power and some people left in the dark for more than three weeks.

To keep the lights on and reduce the number and severity of power outages, GridLiance undertook a series of transmission projects. The three-year effort included upgrades to transmission and related facilities, including substations that dated back to the 1950s. Among the projects completed, GridLiance constructed four new substations, built a new 20-mile 115 kV line, upgraded and converted a 69 kV line to 115 kV and rebuilt 5 miles of existing 69 kV line.

The Panhandle Reliability Improvement Project increased the reliability of the regional grid and improved transmission service levels for TCEC’s 12,000 members. The work created more than $440 million of economic benefits in the region, according to a study conducted by Oklahoma Panhandle State University. It also enables additional business growth in the Panhandle.

Project Benefits

  • Improves reliability

  • Enhances resilience to severe weather

  • Creates regional economic benefits

Key Project Highlights:

  •       Created $440 million in regional economic benefits
  •       Constructed 3 substations, expanded 1 substation
  •       Built 20 miles of new line and rebuilt 5 existing miles
  •       65 miles of optical ground wire installed