What is an Operations Center?

Larkin Kaliher

Larkin Kaliher, Secretary & Assistant Treasurer

What is an Operations Center?

What: Often unnoticed by Central Lincoln People’s Utility District (CLPUD) customers, our Operations Centers house the muscle that beats the heart, and the backbone supporting CLPUD’s system.

Where: CLPUD has three Operation Center locations – our new Northern Operations Center (NOC) in north Newport, the Southern Operations Center (SOC) in Florence, and the Reedsport Operations Center.

Why: With our distance from outside services, and the unique needs in our coastal environment, these centers are crucial.  Without the resources housed in our District it would be difficult to operate effectively and efficiently, repair, reinforce, and upgrade CLPUD’s system.  Operations Centers allow us to maintain reliability, stability, and resiliency under normal, yet challenging coastal conditions.

Who: These facilities in varying degrees house crews, shops, etc. (a) The line crews that build, and maintain lines for power brought in by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), that CLPUD transports to your homes and businesses.  The same line crews are also readily available to restore power when the need arises. (b) The meter shop that builds and maintains power monitoring equipment. (c) The substation crew and shop – we design, build, and maintain our substations. (d) Communication equipment and office that allows field crews, offices, customer calls, customer meters, and substations to communicate. (e) The operations staff who monitor our system in real time, respond to issues promptly, and dispatch necessary solutions. (f) The engineering techs who assist customers in designing new projects or upgrading for existing needs, and CLPUD’s utility system improvements. (g) The support staff that back up others. (h) The fleet of service vehicles and equipment. (i) The tree trimming crew and equipment. (j) And the warehouse and grounds provide storage for poles, wire, transformers, and needed materials.

When: Our system has grown and changed since it was first enegized in 1943, and so have customers’ service and reliability requirements.  The first NOC was built after World War II in South Beach.  At the time of construction, this location was considered ideal.  As growth and needs changed, it has had several additions.  Over the years other areas joined Central Lincoln.  In Florence  and Reedsport, other Operations Centers became necessary.  The SOC was built in the 1950’s.  In Reedsport, the Operations facility was purchased from the city in the 70’s.  Your Board and staff have been planning for major upgrades for several years.  The efficiency of the Ops Centers in Florence and Newport are being greatly improved with vertical warehousing requiring less physical space, modernizing shops, creating better work spaces to use computer technology, redesigning traffic patterns to reduce congestion, and improving security.  Resiliency is being addressed by upgrading to current structural designs.  And as I write this article, the NOC is being moved to its new location out of the tsunami inundation zone, while the Florence remodel is in the design stage.


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