Thursday, April 17, 2014

West Point News

Upgrades to city’s electrical system get green light

The City of West Point last night voted to spend some of the money generated by increases in the city electric bills that were passed on to local residents and businesses the past two years.
But it’s needed, city officials said, to make needed upgrades to the electrical distribution system.
Last night the council approved work orders that will cost more than $900,000 for a new transformer and switchgear for the new substation to be built just north of the city’s power plant.
The council accepted Virginia Transformer Corporation’s $535,940 bid for the transformer, and Power Corporation’s bid of $381,085 for the 15 kV protected switchgear. The latter item’s cost will be lowered a bit because that price included a 7.5 percent sales tax, which won’t be paid. City Administrator Tom Goulette said the bids were a bit lower than expected.
Goulette said a lot of the project’s cost was built into the rate study and approved by the city in March of 2012.
That rate study spelled out the annual rate increases that would be needed over the next 11 years.
The new substation will help shed some of the load off the substation that stands on the east side of the power plant.
Olsson Associates, the engineering firm the city has hired as its electric distribution system consultant, told the council last year that it’s critical that the city take action to reduce the load on the transformer located near the power plant.
Doing so would also help extend the life of that substation and help the city prepare for and better handle future electric loads.
The city expects delivery of the transformer and switchgear will take 24 to 26 weeks.

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