National Grid Invests More Than
$600 Million in Electric System Enhancements During
the Last 12 Months
May 09, 2007 -- BUSINESS WIRE
WESTBOROUGH, Mass., National Grid made a record
investment of more than $600 million in enhancements
to its electricity networks in New York and New
England during the first year of a five-year plan
to enhance reliable electric service for its customers.
During the five-year period between March 2006 and
2011, the company projects that capital expenditure
on enhancements to its existing U.S. electricity
and gas networks will total more than $3 billion.
"This critical investment will enable
us to enhance reliable service to customers and
prepare our system to meet the needs of our region
and communities as we move further into the 21st
century," said Cheryl LaFleur, acting CEO of National
Grid's U.S. electricity distribution business.
The reliability improvement plan includes
a comprehensive set of initiatives aimed at addressing
the main causes of power outages including trees,
lightning and deteriorated equipment. These efforts
are in addition to existing reliability programs
and day-to-day work that serve to enhance reliability.
During the last year, more than 1,300 miles of major
electric distribution lines were inspected and upgraded.
Thousands of fuses, poles, transformers and related
equipment were replaced and animal guards and lightning
protection devices were installed.
Highlights of work performed last
-- Approximately 45,000 cutouts, or
line fuses, that isolate portions of a line experiencing
an outage and prevent the outage from affecting
a larger customer group
-- More than 7,000 insulators, equipment
that insulates power lines from the utility pole
and other nearby equipment; damaged insulators can
result in power outages
-- More than 9,000 transformers
-- More than 18,000 wood poles Installation
-- More than 4,000 animal guards that
are used to discourage animals from making contact
with electrical equipment, a significant cause of
-- More than 1,300 lightning arresters
that prevent outages by protecting lines from voltage
carried by lightning strikes and other abnormalities
Many individual projects across the
distribution system also were completed including
the installation of additional equipment to limit
the number of customers affected by power outages,
replacement of or upgrades to substation equipment
and replacement of underground cables.
In addition to the capital investments,
the plan includes increased tree and vegetation
management, inspections, and maintenance work related
to preventing outages. Trees were trimmed along
more than 10,000 miles of distribution lines and
more than 22,000 trees that posed a risk to reliable
service were removed. National Grid's Forestry group
completed vegetation management work on 17,000 acres
of transmission line corridors.
National Grid's U.S. transmission
business also made significant reliability upgrades
during the past 12 months. In New England, a 345
kV transmission line that runs from western to central
Massachusetts was completely refurbished, with poles
and cross arms replaced along the entire line. This
project significantly improved the reliability of
this key circuit. The Wachusett 345 kV and 115 kV
substations in West Boylston were constructed and
placed in service this year, completing a major
reconfiguration of the central Massachusetts transmission
In New York, the Clay 345 kV substation
near Syracuse is undergoing a major multi-year refurbishment.
During the last year, two major sections were rebuilt,
with older equipment being replaced with modern,
high-speed equivalents. This work improves the reliability
of the facilities that transfer power east to west
across National Grid's New York network. At the
Packard 115 kV substation in Niagara Falls, circuit
breaker replacement work was completed to remove
potentially overloaded components from the network.
During the next 12 months of the reliability
plan, National Grid plans to undertake upgrades
on over 2,500 miles of distribution lines, and tree
work on another 11,000 miles of lines. Approximately
300 miles of transmission lines will be refurbished,
and National Grid will begin construction on a major
transmission line and substation project to meet
growing demand for electricity and improve reliability
in southern Rhode Island. Work at the Clay substation
near Syracuse also will continue this year.
National Grid, through the transmission
and distribution of electricity and natural gas,
serves close to 4 million customers across 29,000
square miles of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
York and Rhode Island.
SOURCE: National Grid