‘C,’ ‘D’ and ‘E’ sections added
Courtesy Photo: Irrigation well pump house with wooden headgates
The REC system continued to grow; the “C” section was built, and power was obtained from Public Service lines at a point west of Blanca extending south to the New Mexico state line in 1939.
“D” section was to extend to the farthest outlying areas— Saguache, Moffat, Villa Grove and taps off existing lines. It was delayed by World War II— put on hold until supplies (poles, wires, transformers, hardware, motors, etc.) were stockpiled after the war.
“E” section was instigated around 1943-44 to add extra wires for large irrigation pumps (three phase) for the central agricultural areas. This was a war production measure. The Zinzer substation was enlarged, voltage regulation and oil circuit breakers installed and many miles of single phase were changed to three phase for irrigation. When the contractor was finished, there were approximately 200 irrigation pumps.
One summer during this time (1944 or 1945) Public Service Company couldn’t supply the power needed to drive the many irrigation pumps. The overload tripped the breakers in the Alamosa plant, stopping all pumps, and the farmers had to return to the fields to restart their wells. A plan of rationing was worked out, and pumps were only run five days per week. This was a bit frustrating and dangerous for the farmers who were trying to water their crops during the height of the growing season. Continued expansion of REC lines eventually corrected this.
(San Luis Valley Historian, Volume XXVI #3, 1994)