Shocking development: New substation expected to have fewer problems, outages

March 24, 2009



Thousands of Columbus Light and Water Department customers last week began receiving electrical power from a "new and improved" source, according to CL&W General Manager Todd Gale. 


"Dollarwise, this is the largest project we have ever done on the electrical side of our company," Gale said Monday morning as he surveyed a newly constructed electrical substation near the intersection of College Street and 15th Street South. 


"A lot of the equipment at the old substation was built in the 1940s or even earlier," Gale said. "We''ve definitely gotten our money''s worth out of that substation. Those components were built to last, but it was definitely time to upgrade." 


The more than $8 million substation began handling electrical loads March 20, and is distributing power to more than half the city, including all of East Columbus. 


Because the new substation was constructed with "state-of-the-art" components, it likely will experience fewer problems and power outages than the station it replaced, Gale said.  


"Reliability ought to increase a good bit with this new station," Gale said.  


"Having worked around this kind of stuff for so many years, I can tell you this station is state-of-the-art," said C.F. Harris, CL&W electrical supervisor. "Many years ago, I just couldn''t imagine working with a system this nice." 


Because the new station was built to handle 100,000-plus volts more than the old substation, it likely will service the city for many decades, Gale added.  


"The components in this new station should last about 40 or 50 years," Gale said. "So this is a long-term investment in our system." 


Crews this week will be working to deconstruct the former substation a few hundred feet away from the new facility.  


After the old station is disassembled, CL&W will salvage or recycle many of its components. 


In addition to replacing the College Street substation, CL&W also will be constructing a new electrical substation on Bluecutt Road within the next few months, Gale said.