WEC celebrates new Fadette substation at ceremonyMatt Boster
Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Nov 19 2020 11:11 AM
New $2.6 million facility provides several benefits to eastern Geneva County SLOCOMB, Alabama — Local economic and government leaders gathered with Wiregrass Electric Cooperative officials Tuesday to celebrate the creation of a new electrical substation in the Fadette community.
WEC energized the new substation on Nov. 2. It replaces a substation that originally was constructed in the 1950s — though had equipment updates throughout the years. The new substation — a $2.6 million investment from WEC and its power provider, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative — improves reliability of service and several operational safety aspects.
"You cannot have economic development success without infrastructure," said WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. "A project like this shows that we don’t have to sacrifice anything when we choose to live in rural areas of the Wiregrass and can have strong investments in our area.
" PowerSouth and WEC initiated the project in 2018. Russ Harper, PowerSouth’s distribution engineer and assistant to the director of engineering, said PowerSouth analyzed the operations of its single-phase substations and determined that the previous substation needed an upgrade to a three-phase substation.
The improvements allowed PowerSouth and WEC staff to replace 46-kilovolt transformers with 115-kV transformers, providing more capacity for the local grid. Harper also noted the new substation allowed PowerSouth to standardize some equipment in the area, paving the way for a quicker responses to outages. "Getting a fresh start in this area is good for this area," Harper said. Additionally, the new substation creates a few redundancies, or backups, that allow PowerSouth and WEC to quickly restore power to many WEC members through the switching of circuits. PowerSouth
also has the space and equipment needed to easily connect a mobile substation that can restore power until repairs are made. The project also led WEC to install radio frequency (RF) to the approximately 1,000 members served by the substation.
WEC Vice President of Engineering and Operations Jason Thrash said these meters can automatically signal outages when they occur, allowing WEC personnel to make repairs more quickly. "We may get power restored before members are back home," Thrash said. This substation, like other WEC substations, is connected to broadband internet services through Troy Cable.
This provides, or will soon provide, access to broadband connectivity to many WEC members in the Fadette area. "We’re doing everything we can to improve the quality of life here in the Wiregrass," Kimbro said. Both WEC and PowerSouth officials heralded the cooperation both staffs emanated during the project. "This project went smoothly. In our industry, we like smooth," Thrash said. "When things aren’t smooth, there is a potential for safety issues."