The Hour – December 23, 2013NORWALK — The Third Taxing District Electric Department this month switched on the power to a newly built substation at 6 Fitch St.
“We’re now connected directly to the transmission system, which makes us more reliable,” said Jim Smith, Taxing District general manager. “Where in the past we were beholden to Connecticut Light & Power Co. (CL&P) and their system to be able to supply all of East Norwalk, now we’re directly fed off the transmission system, so it’s increased reliability. We end up getting away from CL&P, so that saves us money, approximately $500,000 a year.”
Atop that, ISO New England, which operates the power grid, will pay the Taxing District an additional $250,000 a year, according to Smith, who anticipates customers’ monthly electric bills will decrease by several dollars sometime next year.
As a result of the project, the Taxing District Electric Department’s entire operating system is now running off a single substation at 6 Fitch St. In the past, power was brought in via two separate underground feeds from Connecticut Light & Power Co. through City Hall, Smith said.
The Third Taxing District Electric Department, which serves 3,800 customers in East Norwalk, began work on the substation in July. From planning to finish, the project took less than 33 month and came in under its $8 million budget, Smith said.
Smith credited Third Taxing District staff, commissioners and the partnership with Eaton Corp., the contractor, for keeping the project on schedule and budget.
“Under the guidance of (consulting engineer) Joe Cristino and myself, our dedicated staff has worked long hours to successfully complete this project on-schedule and within budget,” Smith said. “I am proud of the team involved in every aspect of this process, and we’re proud that Fitch Street is now energized for our community and customers.”
The project entailed the construction of two 110-foot towers at the back of the property to carry in power from ISO New England’s transmission system.
From there, the transmission feeds come down to two smaller towers and transformers, and the electricity is converted from 115 kilovolts to 27,600 volts, before being sent out underground into the distribution system at 4,160 volts, according to Smith.
In addition to the towers, the project added a control house and security fencing and entry to the property, which had been home to a house.
Smith said landscaping will be added in the springtime to screen the substation from neighbors.
The project has not been without disruptions. Construction of the towers resulted in the closing of the parking lot on the south-bound side of the East Norwalk Train Station for about one month.