Florence substation to be refurbished, construction to start May 2022


PITTSFORD — The town of Florence will receive a new electric substation next year, though the benefits may not be obvious.

“It’s just a refurbishment,” said Dan Poulin, program manager at VELCO. “We’re not going to increase the capacity of the substation at all.”

Poulin told The Reporter that the upgrade will help provide more reliable power to Florence residents. This means updating the configuration of the transformers and breakers, which Poulin said is what will make the new substation more reliable.

The proposed Florence substation will feature a ring configuration of transformers and breakers. Poulin says this means that if one of the substation’s breakers stops working, the substation will continue working and the power will stay on.

“In the ring bus, there’s two breakers on each side,” he said. “If one of the breakers was to trip, (the power) is able to feed from the other way.”

The new substation will completely replace the existing one on Whipple Hollow Road, which was constructed in 1978.

And the new substation’s construction – scheduled to begin in May 2022 – will not be invasive to residents.

“We won’t be closing any roads,” Poulin said of the project.

He said that the new substation will be constructed alongside the existing one. That means residents will continue to have power during construction, which is expected to wrap up in December 2022.

“As soon as that (new substation) next door is ready, we’ll transfer over and remove the old one,” he said.

Poulin said building this way will be more convenient for VELCO, too, as the company won’t have to build a temporary substation.

The new substation is expected to cost around $15 million and will be approximately 40,000 square feet. The current substation is 25,000 square feet, Poulin said.

The project will also purchase three acres from OMYA.

The replacement is part of a statewide substation upgrading project by VELCO. It is the seventh substation upgrade the company has begun since 2013.

Four substation upgrades – in Newport, St. Albans, Barre and Berlin – have been completed. Substations upgrades in Sandbar and Irasburg are still in progress.

A substation upgrade in North Rutland is also scheduled to begin in 2022.

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