Cooperative News

Substation panel upgrades save money, decrease outages

Our reliability and speed of restoration keep getting better

Hard-working equipment operates behind the scenes in all of our substations, where high-voltage power comes in through transmission lines and is converted to the electricity you use in your home or business. Now, upgrades to that equipment are reducing costs and helping us restore your lights faster than ever.

Panel upgrades

Working together, our engineering and substation teams established a new, more powerful standard for our substations’ feeder, transformer and transmission panels.

“While our existing panel designs worked well, there are new advances and technology we wanted to take advantage of,” PEC Electrical Engineering Manager Ryan Morlino said.

Those advantages include replacing cut-off switches (which are costly and take up space) with push-buttons that have a locking mechanism that prevents accidental trips. The buttons also grant the panels greater functionality, allowing for more protections, options and flexibility.

“The new feeder panels are actually less expensive than the older models because we need fewer of them, and additionally, removing the cut-off switches saves a lot of real estate on the panel,” Morlino said. “This allows us to be more efficient with space, which lets us avoid expanding or building additional control houses in the substations. That saves us and our members even more money.”

Substation automatic load transfer (SALT) scheme

In certain substations, the upgraded panels create a new functionality that cuts down on outage time significantly. Now, when a substation transformer goes offline, potentially plunging thousands of customers into the dark, the automation scheme will shift those customers onto the substation’s second transformer in a matter of seconds.

“With the SALT scheme, an outage that would have lasted five minutes can be restored in five seconds,” Morlino said. The SALT scheme has been implemented in two substations so far, with more on the way.

Saving you money while increasing your quality of service: just one more way we’re PEC Proud to serve you.