(SUDBURY, ON) - Greater Sudbury Utilities commissioned its first new substation in nearly 20 years on Wednesday afternoon. The Kathleen Substation, located at 127 Kathleen Street just off Notre Dame Avenue, was initially built in 1942 with an upgrade in the 1950s. In 2018, GSU did a complete rebuild, rendering the facility essentially “Brand New”.
“Since Kathleen was built during World War II a lot of things have changed,” said Mark Signoretti, GSU Board Chair. “We rely more on electricity today than we did back then. A substation is a 50-year asset, so the GSU team has taken a long view
approach to this project and have made sure that it can supply our customers not only today and tomorrow, but also for the next several decades.”
The Kathleen substation is a critical piece of the GSU Distribution System. It receives high voltage electricity at 44 KV (44-thousand volts), reduces it to 12 KV (12 thousand volts), and routes it to neighborhood transformers where it is further stepped down to voltages useable by homes and businesses. The Kathleen substation is also equipped with updated control technology that will improve reliability and provide more visibility into the grid and enable more restoration options in the event of an unplanned outage. GSU affiliate Agilis Networks also uses the location as an important telecommunications hub, and provides telecom services at no charge so the utility can operate the system and process meter data, while keep costs as low as possible.
This project was budgeted at $3.85 Million, and came in ON TIME and 10% UNDER BUDGET, with no lost time injuries,” said Signoretti. “We know that our customers expect us to make wise choices. They expect us to keep the lights on and make sure that we keep our distribution rate as low as possible. Right now, our rates are in the lower third of all distribution companies in Ontario, and we are working to keep them below the rate of inflation. Team work with our affiliates helps make that happen.”
GSU has several substations that were built right after World War II, and plans to upgrade them in a phased, prioritized approach. Capreol Substation is currently under construction; Cressy Substation is scheduled in 2020, with others to follow. Once Cressy is done, Kathleen will serve nearly a quarter of the utilities’ customers and GSU will remove 3 smaller, old substations from service.
“This is a big deal and a good news story,” said Signoretti. “GSU is a responsible steward of a critical system we rely on. When things reach end of life, you have to make planned, reasonable investments in renewal to prevent system failure as well as making sure you don’t end up with an infrastructure deficit you can’t afford to fix. That’s what we’re doing.”