Power up

Upgrades for the Board of Light & Power plant on Harbor Island this spring are expected to ensure its reliability.
Alex Doty
Apr 8, 2013

The municipal utility's board recently approved spending $144,312 on an island substation relay project. The project aims to improve reliability and modernize equipment at the J.B. Sims III plant.

The project will be done when the plant goes down for a scheduled maintenance outage in several weeks.

“The physical work has to be done while Sims has an outage,” Board of Light & Power spokeswoman Renee Molyneux said.

The municipal utility's distribution engineer, Nick Winsemius, said the project to upgrade the relay station has been on their radar.

“We’ve had this project planned for about two years now,” he said. “Essentially, what it is doing is replacing older-style electromechanical relays with solid-state relays.”

According to Winsemius, the relays protect the electric system from any faults.

While residents won’t notice much of an impact on their electric usage, power officials say the upgrades will make a difference on their end.

“Some of the relays are originals from when the transmission lines were installed in the 1960s,” Winsemius said.

Winsemius said it should take about five weeks to complete.

BLP officials said the upgrades are unrelated to an incident that occurred early this year that left a large portion of Grand Haven in the dark for several hours.

The Jan. 10 power outage was caused when a 69,000-volt line was taken out of service after a terminator blew. This shut off the power to more than 9,400 customers for five hours until workers could fix the damaged line.

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