Public Service Company of Oklahoma has filed an eminent domain lawsuit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in an effort to force the railroad to sell property in Tulsa to the electric utility.
PSO says the half-acre plot in the northwestern area of downtown Tulsa is needed for an electric substation to meet future electricity demands of the area. The utility says it's contacted BNSF in an effort to buy the land, but BNSF has refused to sell.
The Journal Record reports that the lawsuit says PSO is exercising its right of eminent domain in order to purchase the property for a public purpose.
PSO expected to begin the expansion in January 2016, said Stan Whiteford, PSO spokesman. The project would last through December 2018.
“It is a significant redesign and rebuild of that substation,” Whiteford said. “It would give us improved reliability downtown and account for continued load growth in the area.”
The expansion would add another transformer to accommodate the anticipated demand for power, Whiteford said. A transformer steps the power down from a transmission level of thousands of volts to distribution-level voltage, or household-level voltage, of 120 volts.
There is a need for a substation expansion, Whiteford said, because of the continued development in the area.
BNSF spokesman Joe Faust says BNSF is evaluating the safety and operational aspects of having a large electrical substation near its operation.
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