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Danville Utilities has completed upgrades to its Riverside substation, which is a critical substation because it serves as one of the delivery points for electricity from the power grid.
The upgrades involved the replacement of all three transformers, switches, circuit breakers and other aging equipment – all of which had reached the end of their reliable service life and needed replacement.
“This substation dates back to the 1960s, and prior to this upgrade, much of the equipment still in service dated back to that time,” Danville Utilities Director Jason Grey said Tuesday. “To maintain reliability on our system, it was important for us to upgrade this station.”
The substation, which is located on Riverside Drive across from Arnett Boulevard, is one of three delivery points for Danville Utilities’ system. The other two are the Brantly substation, which was upgraded four years ago, and the Rock Springs substation, which became a delivery point about 10 years ago.
A substation steps down the voltage from transmission service levels to a lower voltage for distribution to customers. Voltage must be lowered so consumers can use it. It’s similar to delivering water through a larger pipe and reducing the pipe’s size for distribution and use.
In addition to serving as a delivery point, the Riverside substation distributes power to nearly 10,000 customers in neighborhoods north and south of the Dan River, bounded by Guilford Street to the north, the Old West End neighborhood to the south, Piney Forest Road to the west, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge to the east.
This project has been in the works for two and a half years, mainly due to the time required to engineer/design and procure the equipment needed. Transformers must be custom built and, once ordered, take 40 to 60 weeks to arrive.
Danville Utilities operates 17 substations. The upgrades at the Riverside substation are part of a master plan to replace aging transformers and equipment. Upgrades at the Schoolfield substation on Edgewood Drive in the city are on track for completion this fall. Engineering and design are underway on the upgrades needed for the Kentuck and Whitmell substations in Pittsylvania County.
Danville Utilities provides natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications services in Danville and distributes electricity to approximately 42,000 customer locations in a 500-square-mile service territory covering Danville, the southern third of Pittsylvania County, and small portions of Henry and Halifax counties.