For more than 20 years, city of Lodi leadership has investigated having an electric transmission line to the west.
Currently, the city only has one transmission line to the east, which Pacific Gas & Electric Company owns and operates. If something goes wrong, the city could go dark.
On Tuesday, the Lodi City Council heard a presentation on the idea of a second transmission line to the west. Here are questions relating to the project.
What is the plan for the transmission line?
The transmission line would allow the city to connect into the power grid from the west side of town.
The line would run from White Slough until it hits Kettleman Lane near Lower Sacramento Road.
The project's costs still have to be estimated, but city staff say it will take three to five years to permit, design and construct the line.
Why is another one needed?
All of Lodi's electricity currently flows in from a transmission line to the east of town that PG&E owns and operates.
Lodi Electric Utility Director Liz Kirkley said there have been four reported citywide power outages in the past seven years, related solely to problems with the transmission line; the longest lasted 2.4 hours.
City leaders would like to improve reliability by having a second transmission line to the west, so that if something happens to one line, there will always be a another electricity source available.
"It will give us protection because if something goes wrong with the PG&E lines right now, we go completely black," Councilman Larry Hansen said.
During hot summers when Lodi residents are running their air conditioners, the city has come close to its electricity load capacity. The city's all-time high peak was 145 megawatts in July 2006, and the most the city can handle is 152 MW.
The Eastside transmission line is also currently a 60 kilovolt power line. The city pays both a low voltage and high voltage transmission access charge. The city would not have to pay the low voltage charge with a 230 kilovolt line.
Consultants estimates that with inflation, not having to pay the low voltage charge could be an annual savings of $2.5 million.
What are the next steps?
City staff needs to finish a comprehensive environmental study of the entire route.
Also, the Northern California Power Agency needs to study the physical connection and conduct a reliability analysis on where the transmission will connect.
NCPA is an agency that generates, transmits and distributes power to its 20 members and associate members, including Lodi.
The city is also studying options that PG&E has suggested to revamp the line on the Eastside. Kirkley said the idea doesn't solve the issue of connecting from two different points in town, but they are still reviewing it.
Staff will continue to update the council at future meetings.