Mark Twain residents oppose power station |

Mark Twain residents oppose power station

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Sierra Pacific Power Co. representatives told Mark Twain residents Thursday night a proposed substation in their town would give them better electrical service – a message revising their earlier position that the project would mainly benefit Carson City and Lyon County.

Mark Twain residents responded that the company didn’t understand the issue. They’re in the area for the view, they said, and the substation and its power lines would change that.

Karena Hynick, who lives near where the substation would be built, said the company and the Storey County Planning Commission don’t care about Mark Twain residents.

“When you wake up in the morning and get your coffee and your dog Spot is peeing on a hydrant, do you have to look up at a substation? No you don’t. I do, I do.”

Carol Johnson agreed. She would also live close to the proposed substation at the south end of Mark Twain Estates.

“Storey County wants the money and they could care less about Mark Twain … We don’t want it, plain and simple.”

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But Zeina Randall, area service manager for Sierra Pacific, said when she heard that a new substation could be built, “that was, like, my salvation.”

Randall was the company engineer for the area last summer during Mark Twain’s frequent power outages. According to Randall, the company had to declare a power emergency for the town every day the weather was hot.

“It wasn’t a good year,” Randall said. “It was a terrible year.”

She said the 15-acre substation will fix those problems and allow the company to stop using “Band-Aid solutions,” such as increasing the volts at other stations.

Until the substation is built, however, “it’s not going to be pretty.”

Mark Sullivan, a consultant for Sierra Pacific, said the company held the meeting because the county asked them to show maps detailing how the power lines wouldn’t run over the property of residents.

“You guys want to go to the planning commission meetings and you want to have some change,” he said. “What you’re going to have to do is hang your hat on something they can legally defend – and a view is not one of them.”

Johnson said the real reason the station could be built is because the planning commission looks at the town as “the armpit of Storey County.”

Tom Zachry, another resident, agreed.

“We’re the cheapest and we’re the fewest. It’s the same battle Northern Nevada has with Southern Nevada, that Northern California has with Southern California. Those people, there’s more of them and we’re not gong to be heard.”

At earlier meetings, the company said it would build the substation because it would provide a connection point for a 345,000-volt line from the Tracy Power Plant in northern Storey County to be built in the second phase. The line will run 100-120 feet above ground, about 20 miles through the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

The power increase is expected to serve 26,000 customers.

Also, Sierra Pacific has filed an eminent domain lawsuit to force the sale of property owned by the Borda family off Territory Road in Mark Twain for the utility.

The county planning commission will have its next meeting June 21.

If you go

What: Storey County Planning Commission meeting for the proposed Sierra Pacific substation in Mark Twain

When: 6 p.m. June 21

Where: The Mark Twain Fire Station, 500 Sam Clemens Road

• Reporter Karen Woodmansee contributed to this story. Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@ or 881-1212.