City’s new transformer to be online in 3 weeks

Workers finished constructing a mini-substation Friday at the Capacitor Bank Substation on Youngs Road in Morgan City. The mini-substation will connect the city’s 112-megawatt transformer to the fiber-optic loop once the loop is completed. At left is the 112-megawatt transformer scheduled to be online in three weeks.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)


The city’s 112-megawatt transformer is now scheduled to be online in three weeks after the frigid weather delayed work again at the city’s Capacitor Bank Substation on Youngs Road, Morgan City Utilities Director Bill Cefalu said.
On Friday, workers finished constructing a mini-substation at the Capacitor Bank Substation, where the transformer is in place, Cefalu said. Workers then must run the piping needed to tie the transformer into the city’s 138 kV circuit breaker and into the mini-substation, he said.
In January, the transformer was scheduled to be online by mid-February, but the unfavorable weather pushed the expected finish date three more weeks, Cefalu said.
The transformer has been in place at the capacitor bank since Aug. 24. The city’s 50-megawatt transformer will be used as a backup transformer after the 112-megawatt transformer goes online.
As part of completing the city’s fiber optic loop, the wire for the East Boulevard power substation to La. 70 should be run within the next few weeks, Cefalu said. The fiber optic loop will take another six months to complete, Cefalu said. “Fiber optic is your control cables that controls all your information. It’s the data that you need to make the system work,” Cefalu said.
The city has two more sections of the loop, at La. 70 to Federal Avenue and at Federal Avenue to the Joseph Cefalu Sr. Steam Plant, to complete before workers can start putting all the “instrumentation” in place for the fiber optic loop, Cefalu said. “By the end of the summer, we ought to have that done to where everything’s operational, but the transformer will go online without that instrumentation,” Cefalu said.
In December 2013, the City Council approved a 2.25-mil power bill surcharge extension for 12 more months to pay for work to complete the city’s fiber optic loop.
The surcharge extension is $2.25 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours used. The original surcharge was passed in December 2012 to pay for the cost of installing a circuit breaker to provide protection for the new transformer. The original surcharge went into effect on Jan. 1, and the extension will go through the end of 2014.
The extension is expected to bring the total raised to about $700,000 to cover work to allow the city’s power substations so each station can communicate with one another, Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said in December 2013.
The fiber optic loop is also designed to protect the circuit breaker in front of the transformer, Cefalu said.
The 138 kV circuit breaker is aimed at protecting the transformer and lessening the damage if an event similar to the city’s June 2012 transformer explosion occurs, Cefalu said. During the June 2012 transformer explosion, a switch was the only protection in place at the city’s steam plant. The switch didn’t open up, thus causing damage to the transformer, Cefalu said.
Once the fiber optic loop is connected, the city will be able to “load shed” and turn off whatever section of the city Cefalu tells the computer to shed, he said.
Workers may work on the weekends to make up for rain days to try to get the transformer online on schedule, he said.

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