Hydro One starting Wanstead replacement in September

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Hydro One has hired Black and MacDonald to build a new hydro substation next to the old Wanstead unit. Politicians have been asking for the project for three years and Hydro One moved it up on the priority list by a year. Heather Wright Photo

The long-awaited project to stabilize the power grid in Central Lambton is about to start.
Hydro One has hired a contractor who will begin building a new transformer at the Wanstead Substation.
The project is expected to cost up to $35 million.
The Wanstead substation has been the main power source in Central Lambton since the 1950s. In the last decade, it has been a constant source of frustration with frequent power outages.
The issue came to a head in Sept. 2014, when local politicians and officials from Bluewater Power called for Hydro One to upgrade the substation. Residents across most of Petrolia and Central Lambton were without power between three and six hours at a time when four inches of rain fell.
The power outage was linked to a lightening strike at the station, but the CEO of Bluewater Power, Janice McMichael Dennis, said at the time “the station at Wanstead is absolutely without question in my opinion is past a life that is probably useful.”
At the time, Hydro One had an upgrade planned for 2018.
But earlier this month, Hydro One awarded the contract to build a new substation, next to the current one, to Black and MacDonald – a well-known contractor in the electrical business.
Hydro One Spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa tells The Independent that work is scheduled to begin in a matter of days.
Baccega Rosa says new power transformers and equipment in a new, securely fenced area and connection to the adjacent high voltage transmission lines will be built beside the current substation.
“The other (substation) will continue to operate and once the new one is complete and put into service… anticipated by the end of the year – then they will transfer the load… and then decommission the old station,” says Baccega Rosa. That is likely to be by the end of 2018 – when the original project was expected to start.
There will also be a new telecommunications system built which will make it easier for Hydro One to monitor when there is a problem. “It views the whole transmission system and when something is happening we can see it in real time,” she says adding right now, the substation which was built in the 1950s, hasn’t been upgraded in years. “Technology has evolved greatly… this will be the best and the latest.”
Baccega Rosa says Hydro One anticipates while the new station is to be in service by the end of 2018, all work at the site is expected to be complete by summer 2019.
“This will be a more reliable power source for the area,” she says. “Anyone connected directly to that, including the local distribution company, will have enhance reliability and supply.”

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