MURRAY — Construction of Murray Electric System’s Racer Substation has gone well, General Manager Tony Thompson said Tuesday.
He said the recent long stretch of dry weather has allowed workers to have no delays, which has helped pull the project closer to its conclusion. Designed to significantly cut the duration time of power outages, the Racer Substation should be running by the end of November, Thompson said.
“We’ve had no problems during the construction process. Now, those guys have had to deal with some heat (including a September that saw the hottest weather of this summer), but I haven’t heard of anyone falling out, so we’ve done pretty well,” Thompson said, explaining that the payoff for this project will be something that should please all of the utility’s customers.
“It will be a second delivery point from (the Tennessee Valley Authority) that will serve the entire town. Instead of one station being relied on for all of the power, now, we’ll have two and should anything happen to either station, the other can provide the power. It gives quicker restoration if one station goes down. Instead of hours being off, that outage will only be for minutes.”
That is something that is particularly exciting to City of Murray Mayor Bob Rogers.
“Murray Electric does a great job of serving this city and I think this will allow them to do an even better job and be more efficient with how they do that job ,” Rogers said Tuesday. “They do a great job anyway, but this is really going to help.
“It means a lot. When you have your restaurants go down and their cash registers go down, or any business for that matter. Everyone is dependent on computers these days, so this will be a big economic factor too.”
It was in September 2018 that Thompson went before the Murray City Council to publicly unveil plans for the project. At that time, he said that Murray Electric customers would be seeing a slight increase in costs, which amounted to 14 cents a month (which is less than half a percent). Tuesday, he said that appears to be the only costs customers will see from this project.
In fact, I talked to my finance guy the other day and we don’t think we’ll need to borrow any money to pay for it. We have been preparing for this and setting aside reserve funds to do it,” Thompson said.
During the ’18 presentation in front of the city council, Thompson said Murray Electric has been receiving TVA power from one delivery point since the Murray utility was founded in 1942. Now, Thompson said power outages will not be so detrimental to local establishments.
“It will really help our industrial customers who might have to send people home, or (Murray State University) who may have to cancel classes,” he said. “We don’t make any money when the power is out and the meters have stopped turning.”
Thompson said most of the structure has been completed at the site along North 16th Street, just south of the intersection with Diuguid Drive. He said the main task this week is wiring the complex to connect all of the devices at the site to the switch house that serves as the main controller.
He said the only major construction component remaining will be left to TVA, the setting of a steel structure that will be used to tap into the 161,000-volt line. A transformer will then reduce that voltage to 69,000, which will be used to serve the city.
“Nobody will really know when it comes online,” Thompson said. “We won’t have to interrupt anybody’s power to do it. We’re just tying into the system already there.”