Portland General Electric focuses on aging substations, infrastructure

Portland General Electric (PGE) (NYSE:POR) President and CEO Jim Piro said Oct. 28 that the company will devote much attention over the next few years to addressing aging transmission and distribution infrastructure.

“There is a lot going on in the T&D area,” Piro said during the company’s 3Q16 earnings call with financial analysts.

Most of it falls under basic “blocking and tackling we need to do to make sure that customers get the reliability that they expect,” Piro went on to say.

PGE has many substations that are 50 years old, Piro noted during the call. PGE has identified about 40 substations in need of some upkeep in the next few years.

PGE has identified 20 substations in the near term that need various degrees of refurbishment, replacement of aging equipment and measures to increase both physical security and seismic resistance, officials said.

“We are also looking hard at looking at the underground system,” Piro said.

PGE has identified about 20 miles of riskier underground segments that will be addressed in the nearer term, company officials said during the call.

About 250 miles of underground infrastructure have been identified that could be approaching the end of its useful life in the next several years, PGE officials said, noting that this will be a multi-year project.

PGE reported net income of $34m, or 38 cents per diluted share, for 3Q16, compared with net income of $36m, or 40 cents per diluted share, for 3Q15.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.