System Operations

Michael Chambliss, Vice President of System Operations

Transmission System Overview

Big Rivers constructs, owns, operates and maintains an electric transmission system in the northern portion of western Kentucky. High-voltage electric power is delivered to our Member-Owners’ systems through this robust transmission system that contains 1,287 miles of line, 22 transmission substations and 24 high-voltage interconnections with seven surrounding electric utilities.

  • 69 kV – 841 miles
  • 138 kV – 14.4 miles
  • 161 kV – 363.1 miles
  • 345 kV – 68.4 miles

In accordance with our strategic plan, Big Rivers meets the reliability needs of our Member-Owners and regulatory agency requirements in the most cost-effective manner possible. We monitor the cost/benefit of membership in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), advocate Big Rivers’ position on MISO market and transmission-related issues and participate in MISO training to optimize Big Rivers’ operations within the energy market.

Big Rivers works in conjunction with our Member-Owners to evaluate transmission expansion or improvement projects driven by reliability performance. We efficiently maintain our transmission system with a focus on reliability and electricity import/export capability, and we monitor the capabilities and expansions of surrounding transmission systems. Big Rivers complies with all NERC Reliability Standards and SERC regional standards and guidelines consistent with a corporate culture of compliance.

New 161 kV interconnect

Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) and Big Rivers are completing the construction necessary to loop an existing Big Rivers-owned 161 kV circuit through the new Kentucky Utilities Matanzas Substation in Ohio County, Kentucky. The first phase of the project was energized on December 12, 2013. This phase created a new high-voltage 161 kV transmission interconnection between the Big Rivers Wilson Substation in Centertown, Kentucky and KU’s new Matanzas Substation. When finished in January 2016, the second phase of the project will complete a second Big Rivers 161 kV interconnection to the KU Matanzas Substation. KU is responsible for all project costs related to this modification.

Transmission construction projects

With the increased loading in the southeast portion of Member-Owner Kenergy’s service territory, a new electric source was needed in Ohio County. Big Rivers installed a 161 kV to 69 kV autotransformer at Wilson EHV Substation to meet this need. A 6.1 mile 69 kV transmission line was constructed from Wilson to Centertown to tie this new transformer into the company’s existing 69 kV transmission system.

Transformers at Big Rivers’ substation serving Kenergy customer Aleris International and also at Hancock County Substation were replaced with new units in 2013.

Following the announcement of two coal mines under development, delivery points were constructed at Pennyrile Energy’s Riveredge Mine in McLean County and Elk Creek Mine in Hopkins County. These two Kenergy customers are now being served by 69 kV transmission service from Big Rivers.

Member-Owner Jackson Purchase Energy Corporation constructed its Maxon Substation in 2013. This new substation was needed to serve the increasing electrical power needs west of Paducah, including the new McCracken County High School.

Big Rivers constructed a new 69 kV transmission line in the eastern service territory of Member-Owner Meade County RECC. As part of this capacity upgrade, the company also reconductored the Meade County Substation’s Garrett 69 kV transmission line.