Substations vital to the delivery of quality service


As I'm preparing this monthly report, we're just a few days away from the one-year anniversary of that 2022 Christmas Eve arctic blast. Many of my readers will readily recall that morning when the local outside temperature dropped to about seven degrees Fahrenheit.

A truly unfortunate circumstance on that particular date was that there were some area baseload generating facilities that were off line. Consequently, they weren't available when they were desperately needed to help confront the heavy electrical load that peaked around 7:00 o'clock on that frosty morning. There was a deep concern that large portions of the region's power-delivery system could fail as a consequence. Factually, a few utilities did have to resort to rolling blackouts to protect the electrical grid's integrity. 

The new Dr. Johns substation energized

Fortunately, Blue Ridge and our members were spared the inconvenience of any planned service interruptions. It so happened that a few months earlier in August, the cooperative had energized its new Dr. Johns substation in western Oconee County. That substation's capacity provided the margin or "cushion" that essentially enabled us to keep the power on for all our members.

At present, Blue Ridge has nearly 40 substations that are in operation at electrical-load centers located all across our service territory. These stations are vital to the co-op's efforts to deliver quality service to our membership. 

A rebuild of the Fair Play substation

As rapidly as the Upstate is now growing, system planning ranks very high among our responsibilities. At this moment, a rebuild is under way on our existing substation in Oconee's Fair Play community. Once that work is completed sometime in 2024, we'll have added two more three-phase circuits to that station. Also, the voltage feeding into the Fair Play facility will have been upped from 44 kW to 100 kW. That will place Blue Ridge in a stronger position to meet the growing demand for electricity that's developing along Oconee's Interstate 85 corridor. 

About 25 miles up I-85 from Fair Play sits the cooperative's new Exit 27 industrial substation. This unit is dedicated to serving the large-power electrical loads which are choosing to locate at this busy highway intersection.

The next several years are expected to see three more new substations brought on line at strategic locales. Plans also entail the rebuild of our existing Coneross station in a fashion similar to that of the afore-mentioned Fair Play facility. These growth opportunities bring with them the resulting reality of ever-improving service of our members. That's certainly one of the most exciting and rewarding features of our business. 

Jim Lovinggood

President  CEO