Back in the fall of 2013, Orange County REMC finished a new construction work plan. This plan, a basic part of nearly all REMC portfolios, provides the basis of most of the new construction activity in future years.
One part of that plan was to construct a new substation to handle potential future overloading of some of our existing substations. As some time passed, and the future was accurately predicted, we communicated our needs to Hoosier Energy, our power provider. They too analyzed and predicted that we would need this additional substation. Construction began, and in mid-December, the new Spring Mill substation was placed in service.
This new substation will improve many aspects of REMC’s power distribution system. The biggest impact will be the relief of capacity demands on our Leipsic and Roosevelt substations. These substations had been seeing loading levels that were very near the maximum capacity limits during high demand/high load times in the winter. The Spring Mill substation takes a portion of both of those loads and allows for future load growth in this part of the service territory. A total of 1,075 meters were transferred from Leipsic and Roosevelt substations to Spring Mill.
Another benefit that the new substation brings is the ability to transfer and back feed load from not only the two substations previously mentioned, but also from the Chaillaux substation. With the completion of numerous projects throughout the service territory leading up to this new substation project, as well as one additional significant project in 2017, we will have the ability to switch loading around while requiring minimal outages. Addition of this flexibility will increase reliability in the future by providing those alternate power feed paths between the four substations.
Why is this information important to share? In my opinion, it’s important that members have some basic understanding of how the system that serves them is set up. It’s important to know that your cooperative is out constructing and maintaining the system, continually working to keeping the lights on. This project in particular shows how the cooperative plans, communicates, and executes projects. All these aspects are vital to the long term well-being of the electrical distribution system.
MATTHEW C. DEATON is general manager/CEO of Orange County REMC.