PSC hears NSP's plan to upgrade transmission line to Minot

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Electricity in Minot could soon be getting an upgrade.

Northern States Power, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, has proposed replacing an existing transmission line that runs from McHenry County to Ward County.

The Minot Load Serving Project would replace the 115 kiloVolt system with a double circuit, 230kiloVolt system.

It would utilize an existing substation near Velva, but would need to build a new substation near Minot.

The Public Service Commission held a public hearing this morning in Minot to gather more information about N-S-P's proposed project and to hear from landowners.

"This line was constructed in the 1950s and 60s, and it is one of the main lines serving Minot. The company is saying it is experiencing low voltage on this line which jeopardizes reliability," said Public Serve Commissioner.

Xcel Energy says low voltage conditions can happen any time there is a high demand for electricity. When this happens, it can start to damage equipment and people might notice their lights flicker at home.

The route that Xcel has proposed would mostly run along the same path as the existing line. However, residents of the North Prairie Township were opposed to it following that same path across the township, so the company made adjustments to the route in that area.

"I think we have a solution that does the best possible job of both. We have support from landowners and we preserved the integrity of agriculture," said Larry Lee, Zoning Board chairman for North Prairie.

No landowners spoke in opposition to the proposed line at Friday's meeting.

If the PSC approves the project, construction will start this Fall and should be completed by the end of next year.​