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Laughlin’s power lines going underground

Construction is performed in front of the aerospace physiology building at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The base, along with several Department of Defense installations, is currently undergoing a new utility privatization contract, which aims to modernize failing power grids. (Photo courtesy of the Rio Grande Electric Co-op)

Construction is performed in front of the aerospace physiology building at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The base, along with several Department of Defense installations, is currently undergoing a new utility privatization contract, which aims to modernize failing power grids. (Photo courtesy of the Rio Grande Electric Co-op)

Construction is performed in front of the aerospace physiology building at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The base, along with several Department of Defense installations, is currently undergoing a new utility privatization contract, which aims to modernize failing power grids. (Photo courtesy of the Rio Grande Electric Co-op)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Over the last several months, many of Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas’ power lines have been moving underground.

The project, tied to a new utility privatization contract, aims to modernize failing power grids at many Department of Defense installations. These UP contracts were setup with the intent of upgrading many existing power lines on base.

“The contracts are setup to be 50 years long, with the replacement of the entire system to meet new standards built into the contract,” said Michael Honey, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical engineer. “The idea of the project is that eventually all power lines on base will be underground, with only a few exceptions.”

By putting the power lines underground, the grid becomes more resilient to weather events.

“High winds, storms, and heat exposure can damage overhead lines and reduce and eliminate their ability to deliver power,” he said. “Even small power hiccups that most people would not notice can have detrimental impacts on sensitive electronics."

The utility privatization project is projected to be done by 2027. Base personnel and their families can expect to see outages, which Honey says, should be short and planned well in advance.