Easily visible just south of U. S. 491 as motorists exit Monticello headed east, this huge humming 345,000 volt behemoth which looks like a space station from another planet is being added upon to the tune of “many millions of dollars.”
How much, the company would not officially say. But those in the know, estimate the addition to be in the neighborhood of $25 million. When completed in the spring of 2011, the addition will make the substation complex almost twice as big as it is now.
For weeks, gravel trucks have hauled thousands of tons of gravel to build the base on which the new addition will stand. Concrete foundation work began last week. Rocky Mountain Power said there will be from five to 50 men at the site at any one time, depending on what phase of construction they are in. The Pinto Substation east of Monticello is one of the ten largest in the state and handles all of southeastern Utah.
Power in the 345,000 volt line is generated in northern Utah and goes to the Farmington, NM area, where it becomes part of a larger grid and is sent to many areas of the nation.
The total value of the Pinto Substation is another secret Rocky Mountain is unwilling to share. However, the property taxes paid to San Juan County in 2008 were $578,000. Last year they paid $650,000. When this addition is completed, their property taxes will likely be in the million dollar range annually—definitely one of the largest taxpayers in San Juan County.
The irony in all this is that Monticello gets all of its power from Empire Electric out of Colorado. All that power in that 345,000 volt line goes right by Monticello. Blanding’s power is from Rocky Mountain and their power comes out of the Pinto Substation after it is cut down to a usable amount before heading south to Blanding and points south on much smaller transmission lines.
Rocky Mountain Power used to be Utah Power and Light. The company has changed names and owners several times over the years.
Monticello businesses welcome the construction workers and company officials who will be living here temporarily over the next several months.
Teenagers can rightfully brag that they come from one of “hottest” places in the country. If only they knew how “hot” 345,000 volts really is!