Performing routine maintenance and necessary repairs on any of LPEA’s 30 substations is made much easier thanks to one piece of equipment in LPEA’s arsenal: our mobile substation. It allows our crews to de-energize critical electrical infrastructure without causing outages and is regularly used across LPEA’s service territory to fix and replace aging equipment.
“Since we added the mobile substation to our list of equipment, we’ve been able to complete major upgrades that are badly needed on our system,” said LPEA Substation Maintenance Foreman Ryan Peacock. “It’s really a win-win. We get to do our job and make our system stronger and more reliable, and our members get to keep the lights on.”
The mobile substation is impressive. Measuring 45-feet long, it reduces voltage from 46 or 115 KV to 12.4 KV. In normal speak, that means it reduces the voltage of the electricity on our transmission lines to levels that are safe to power residential areas. It includes a trailer with a substation transformer, switchgear, breakers, emergency or station power supply, and enhanced cooling capabilities.
It requires eight skilled staff and three workdays to move and prepare. Once it’s up and running, it absorbs the power load of the permanent substation so it can be de-energized to perform repairs and upgrades. In one recent example, LPEA crews used the mobile substation to de-energize a substation in Pagosa Springs and upgrade the equipment to better find and report outages.
Sounds straightforward, right? Not quite. It takes careful planning, deep collaboration, and constant communication to make this happen safely.
As a bonus, the mobile substation can also serve longer-term needs. For example, some electrical equipment – when damaged – can take a long time to procure and replace. In these instances, the mobile substation can act as a patch to keep LPEA members in power while we wait for parts to arrive.
“The mobile substation is completely self-contained and transportable,” said Peacock. “This gives LPEA a dependable and self-sustaining power supply option in case of any event – planned or unplanned.”