To increase reliability and meet current and future energy need in downtown Bellingham, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) plans to convert its existing 4-kV electric distribution system to a 12-kV electric distribution system in three areas of downtown Bellingham. In the first phase, will upgrade the distribution system between Cornwall Ave. and Railroad Ave. from York St. to Maple St. In addition, PSE may upgrade two other areas in downtown Bellingham. The second phase, which would take place in 2009 and 2010, would upgrade the electric system along State St. and N. Forest St. In addition, in order to support the new 12-kV electric distribution system, PSE will rebuild the existing 4-kV State Street substation.
PSE is partnering with the city of Bellingham on these electric system upgrades. The city will provide the trenching that is necessary to install the system, including backfill and restoration. Additionally, the city will provide trench, backfill and restoration in the balance of the areas where PSE had originally planned to rebuild an overhead distribution system, enabling PSE to install the entire new distribution system underground.
PSE held a community meeting in November 2008 to discuss the planned upgrade. The company is presently in the design and permitting phase and expects to begin construction in spring 2009.