CONCORD, N.C. Local Charlotte News — On Thursday, the City of Concord will energize a brand-new electrical substation, increasing the capacity for new development in the area. It is also the first electrical project in more than 20 years that was built entirely by city employees.
From the outside, Substation P may look like your run-of-the-mill substation, but inside lies a bigger story.
“It produces electricity to send out to the residential customers,” said Concord Electrical Systems Substation Coordinator Ty Barbee. “It was built in-house. City employees built it.”
For the first time since 1997, a team of 11 Concord Electric employees built the facility from the ground up, a learning experience for new workers.
“A lot of times, you don’t get to touch any of this stuff when it’s hot – when it’s energized. We got to put our hands on a lot of different things,” said SCADA Technician Jordan Goodman.
For Barbee, a 33-year employee of Concord Electric, the undertaking was more of a passion project.
“I’m the only one that’s been here that’s actually built one in the past. I enjoyed being out here with the new guys – the younger guys – teaching them where they can learn. They can understand what I’ve been trying to explain to them over the years,” He said.
The project isn’t just a win for the employees who built it, but for the city itself, as it increases capacity for new development along the Highway 49 corridor.
“We want to be proactive and not reactive. If businesses are coming in, we don’t want to tell them ‘we can’t support you because we don’t have the power’,” said Goodman.
Having more substations also improves customer wait times during power outages.
“If we lose another site, we have this as a backup. We just open up some switches at the other site, close some switches here, and we get the customers back on a lot quicker,” said Barbee.
The energizing ceremony for Substation P starts at 10 a.m. The city currently has five more substation projects in the pipeline to help them keep up with rapid growth.
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