City shores up electric service with new substation

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The City of Niles has become less susceptible to extended power outages because of recent electric infrastructure improvements worth $189,500.
That is $260,500 less than the city planned to spend when it in 1998 looked into building a new electric switching substation near the corner of Lake and 13th streets.
The original concept was estimated at $450,000 and would have included a lattice structure, concrete foundations and provisions for 4-34.5 kV breakers to connect into both the city's industrial and residential transmission circuits, said Jim Lehmkuhl, the city's utilities department manager.
He said the scope of the original concept, however, changed when a new design using an existing American Electric Power (AEP) circuit from AEP's Lake Street substation became very attractive to the city.
Lehmkuhl said the circuit was not being used by AEP at the time and they were willing to sell it to the city.
Along with associated circuit breaker and metering costs, the second delivery point alternative was offered to the city by AEP.
The city council approved the $189,500 expenditure on Feb. 24.
Construction work took place during spring and summer and the city's second electrical delivery point was energized and became operational on Aug. 6.
Lehmkuhl said with a single delivery point, the city was always exposed to an extended outage to the entire system in the event of significant weather or catastrophic occurrences.
Before the new delivery point became operational, the city's only electrical delivery point came from AEP's Fort Street substation on the southern edge of the city.