AEP Texas plans to finish construction on a $12 million infrastructure improvement project before the end of this year to enhance electric service reliability to residents in Sonora and the surrounding area.


According to AEP External Affairs Manager Gricelda Calzada, upgrades to an existing 69-kV substation in Sonora have already been completed.


Construction of a new 138,000-volt (138-kV) substation in Sonora is expected to wrap up sometime this year.


“Carver Station, which is part of the Sonora/Carver Project, has been completed and is currently now running transmission lines for Friend Ranch and Hamilton Road through that station which originally went through Sonora,” Calzada said. “The Sonora Station work is expected to be completed before the end of 2020.”


The improvements are expected to reduce the likelihood of transmission power outages in the area as well as allow faster power restoration when an outage occurs.


“Sonora and surrounding areas will benefit from this project by having a more reliable transmission system at Carver Station. The improved transmission system in turn provides a more reliable feed to the Sonora Distribution Station and the 69-kV transmission in the region,” Calzada said.
Residents in Sonora began noticing construction on the new substation in early 2018. The Devils’ River News reported on the project as the ground breaking work got underway in July 2018.


At that time, former AEP Texas Manager of External Affairs, Fred Hernandez, explained that AEP customers and the local community alike would benefit two-fold from the capital improvement in the region.


Hernandez said the addition of the new, bigger substation (138-kV) will benefit customers by improving reliability in the area and it will add to the county’s tax base revenue.


The implementation of a new substation was due to the impracticality of upgrading and expanding the existing station due to space limitations and costs.


Multiple circuit breakers at the Sonora Substation were showing signs of deterioration and were in need of replacement, according to AEP.


It was not feasible to upgrade the existing substation at its current 10-acre lot.


AEP purchased an additional 10 - acres of land nearby for the construction of the new Carver Station.


Due to new transmission investments within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the cost of the new facility will be spread out among all electricity customers within ERCOT, which comprises approximately 80 percent of the state.


AEP Texas delivers electricity to over a million meters in approximately 400 communities in all or parts of 92 counties in west and south Texas. The AEP Texas service area covers approximately 97,000 square miles.


AEP Texas maintains and operates approximately 8,000 miles of transmission lines and approximately 43,000 miles of distribution lines.


While work has taken longer than first anticipated, mid 2019, the end result will be worth the wait for everyone in the region.


As progress continues on the new Carver Station, Calzada said AEP does not expect any disruption in service to its customers.


The completion of the new Carver Station and rebuild of the existing Sonora Station will help connect lines in Sonora with those of other facilities in the region to ensure better electric service for years into the future.


“There will be a major improvement with the new updated equipment,” Calzada said. “AEP is working to improve outages in the region with this project. The new substation configuration at Carver will be more reliable and the new equipment at Carver is replacing used equipment at Sonora. In addition, capacity in the region will be increased due to a larger auto transformer installed at the new Carver Station.”