Whirlpool had hoped for the substation’s startup Aug. 1 and at one time CU crews and contractors were on track for an early July completion, but this aggressive goal was dampened by all things wet — the discovered wetland, a wetter than normal spring season and most recently the five waves of storms that wiped out one-fourth of the Cleveland Utilities electric grid.
In spite of the setbacks, CU’s existing system can accommodate the new plant’s expected load, according to Dennis Daniel, manager of the CU Electric Division who delivered his update Tuesday to members of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.
“Overall, we now project that Chatata Creek should be online toward the end of September or middle of October,” Daniel said. “Regardless of the status of this substation, there is already ample capacity in our system to serve the new Whirlpool plant.”
As previously reported, Cleveland Utilities had planned to construct the new substation in the Old Powerline Road area for several years in order to be better prepared for growth in the region and to better balance out the growing electric distribution system. When Whirlpool announced plans to build a new $120 million, 1.4 million square-foot factory and distribution center on Benton Pike, it expedited CU’s substation timetables.
At Tuesday’s board meeting in the CU Training Center, Daniel provided a detailed update of the substation progress.
“... The fence is up and the concrete pads for the control house and two power transformers were poured on June 7,” he specified. “This will give an adequate curing time for the concrete to support the weight of the power transformers that we are expecting the week of July 4, along with the delivery of the 70-foot steel poles that will provide lightning protection over the substation area.”
During the week of July 12, CU expects to receive shipment of the control building and work will begin on the remaining concrete foundations with the grounding grid and conduit installation to follow.
“Once these steps are completed, the entire yard will be graveled and the erection of the steel structure will begin,” he said.
Daniel also reported on CU’s preparation work on the Whirlpool plant itself. At the request of the Whirlpool electrical contractor, CU has prepared a work order to install temporary power to the work site. The utility has provided a 500 kva pad transformer that will supply power for construction work and lighting inside the plant during construction. The transformer will be removed once permanent power facilities are installed, Daniel said.
The Electric Division manager said CU anticipates providing Whirlpool with permanent power by Sept. 6 — regardless of the status of the neighboring Chatata Creek substation.
In other Electric Division reports:
- Greenstream Recycling is opening a new recycling center off South Lee Highway at 2290 Elliston Drive S.W. in a previously unoccupied building. Daniel said CU is upgrading the electrical facilities in the empty building to meet the electrical demands of the company.
- CU’s Engineering Department has been working to provide the city of Cleveland a cost estimate for Phase IV of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, a section that stretches from Raider Drive through Tinsley Park. The CU design currently calls for 69 sodium vapor lights similar to those used on other sections of the trail. Daniel said cost estimates call for the project to be $199,267; however, the utility is also looking into upgrading the light to LED-type fixtures which could also change light spacing. “The initial cost would be greater, but less energy consumption and lower maintenance costs would be the benefit of using those type lights,” he explained. “After the studies are completed, we will be ready to proceed with whichever option the city would prefer.”
- Daniel reported a replacement bucket truck costing $136,155 was scheduled to be put in service Wednesday to replace a unit that was destroyed by a fire April 1, 2010. The CU insurance carrier reimbursed the utility for $46,697.75, but also covered the cost of leasing another truck until a replacement could be purchased. The board approved the purchase of the new truck almost one year ago.