SWEPCO project in Washington County supports growth

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 555 views 

Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), a utility of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, recently started a $1.75 million project to replace poles and lines as it works to accommodate area growth.

The 3.2-mile project between Farmington and Prairie Grove is expected to be completed by the end of this year, weather permitting. SWEPCO crews will replace about 90 poles and lines, or primary conductors. The work is expected to provide increased capacity to accommodate growth in the respective cities, including soon-to-be-developed subdivisions.

Asked how many more homes this project will accommodate when completed, SWEPCO spokesperson Michelle Marcotte explained the challenges in quantifying this because of the “large range in load diversification across homes and businesses. We are seeing a lot of subdivisions being planned in that area, and the larger conductor will allow us to support that future load growth. The circuit upgrade also will allow us to provide additional capacity to backup other circuits in the Farmington and Prairie Grove area.”

Marcotte noted that most of the existing poles are not strong enough to support the larger conductor that will be installed. “In addition, the stronger poles will be more resilient during future weather events, increasing customer reliability,” she added.

The project runs from Arkansas Highway 170 at the intersection of Clyde Carnes Road and extends south to the intersection with U.S. Highway 62. Temporary lane closures are expected, contributing to traffic delays during the project. Some customers may experience a short outage while their service is transferred to the new conductors.

“We’re excited to move forward with this additional investment in Northwest Arkansas,” said Brett Mattison, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “This project will result in more capacity so we can meet future demands in this growing region of Arkansas.”

SWEPCO serves more than 551,000 customers in three states, including about 126,000 in Arkansas.