Council approves substation upgrades

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The City Council endorsed a plan to beef up Plymouth Utilities’ electric distribution system Tuesday.

The $3.827 million project, which would upgrade three of the utilities’ four electric substations, still must be approved by the Public Service Commission.

The proposal, City Administrator/ Utilities Manager Brian Yerges explained to the council, came out of an electrical distribution study completed with the help of Forster Electrical Engineering last year.

Bruce Beth, president of Forster, outlined the proposed project for the council.

It would included adding a second transformer at substation 4 near Johnsonville, adding new lines at substation 3 on Willow Road, and adding capacity at substation 2 at the wastewater treatment plant on County PP.

“The system’s serving you well, but we’re at the cusp and it’s getting more and more difficult to switch things out,” when service is needed, Beth stated.

He noted that the utilities serve a large area in western Sheboygan County. “You pretty much go from the north end of the county to the south end of the county,” Beth stated.

That includes several large industrial customers some distance from the center of the city, he added, such as Johnsonville Sausage and Sargento Foods.

Beth said the current configuration is for substation 3 to serve as the backup for substation 4 – which serves Johnsonville Sausage. But, he added, substation 3 does not presently have sufficient capacity for that.

The upgrades at substations 3 and 4 would correct that, he said, and upgrading substation 2 would provide better backup for city of Plymouth electric customers.

“The projects are necessary for long-term reliability and to prevent future issues with outages planned or unplanned,” Yerges said in a memo to the council outlining the plans.

The work would be completed over two years, he added.

Beth said the proposal being put forward was one of several considered in the study and was determined to be the most costefficient and effective.

The project would provide room to grow in the electric distribution system, Beth added.

“Everything we’re proposing to do is at existing substations, so it’s not like we’re creating a new substation out of an existing farm field,” Beth pointed out. “I’m confident it will get approval.”

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