Delmarva Power to improve service to Bozman, Neavitt
EASTON — Delmarva Power plans to improve electric service to Bozman and Neavitt by installing a $2.1 million under water distribution feeder across Harris Creek and as well as smart switching devices to reduce the duration and frequency of power outages.
Engineering Supervisor Cory Buxton and Government and Public Affairs Manager Renee Stephens shared a PowerPoint presentation explaining the “Bozman Substation Feeder Reliability Improvement Project” with the Talbot County Council at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
The Bozman substation supports two circuits, or feeders, that provide power to more than 2,000 customers. According to Delmarva Power, they have been on the electric company’s “feeder list for poor performance multiple times over the past ten years.”
Buxton told the council that the average frequency of outages is about four per year per customer. The average amount of time to fix an outage was 700 to 800 minutes involving trucks sent from Centreville.
The new system will allow technicians to analyze an outage remotely and restore
power quickly using smart switches and a redundant system. The company expects a 52 percent reduction in outage frequency and duration, Buxton said.
According to a fact sheet published by Delmarva Power, the alternate route to supply power to the area and “tie together the villages of Bozman and Neavitt with McDaniel, Wittman, Sherwood, and Tilghman Island,” will “meet updated reliability standards as defined by the Maryland Public Service Commission.”
“We expect the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Army Corps (of Engineers) are going to turn this over to the Maryland Board of Public Works to vote on in October. We’re very confident they’re going to approve it,” Buxton said.
The “biggest concern” has been the environmental issues of Harris Creek, Buxton said. Divers have surveyed the oyster reefs multiple times and plotted a “circuitous route from essentially Bald Eagle Point in Sherwood on the west side to a spot just north of Neavitt on the east side of Bozman-Neavitt Road.”
The project was conceived more than three years ago, and the permitting and construction planning is in its final stages, Buxton said.
Delmarva Power anticipates beginning construction next month pending permit approval of the joint state and federal permits, with “substantial completion in December 2017.”
“Delmarva Power has taken great consideration of the natural environment in the area while siting, planning, and designing the installation techniques for this project,” according to the company fact sheet.
“The company has performed detailed wetlands delineation, employed divers to plot both man-made and natural oyster reefs and aquatic vegetation, sur veyed bald eagle nesting sites and consulted regional, state and federal government partners on this permitting effort,” the fact sheet stated.
The contractor will use a “ver y thin plow” to form the four-foot deep trench across Harris Creek. “When he plows, he’ll disturb very little sediment on the bottom,” Buxton said.
Council Member Dirck Bartlett asked Buxton if Delmar va Power had the ability to put “any other conduits in while you’re running these other lines? Because we have a long-term need to possibly tie in a Tilghman Island wastewater treatment plant to our St. Michaels wastewater treatment plant, and if the permitting is such ... that we could put one extra conduit in there, that might help us.”
Council Member Laura Price added that internet cable might be added as well.
“Can we put other things in this trench without having to re-permit this whole deal?” Bartlett asked.
Buxton explained that the logistics of the project required placement of the crossing farther south “to make the loop useful.” For other utilities projects, however, a risky and expensive end-to-end, directional bore 20 to 30 feet deep under Harris Creek would be the “ideal means and method to install a conduit (a mile) across.”
For the Delmar va Power distribution feeder, Buxton said, “We’re only actually boring the ends (five or six feet) and directly plowing the middle because of the distance,” for laying down three cables.
Council Vice President Cory Pack asked about the mitigation process for disturbing the oyster beds. Buxton said that the permit would stipulate the mitigation process.
Stephens and Buxton said that divers discovered that there were changes in the area compared to the maps Delmarva Power was given. “When (divers) actually, physically dove the area, they realized that, in fact, some of that area really and truly does not even have ... oyster reef(s),” Stephens said.
“We’re beginning the preparation portions of the project, installing upland cable outside the creek itself on either side, and some of the infrastructure,” Buxton said.
“In addition to the feeder tie, seven new automatic switching devices will be installed and five existing devices will be retrofitted with communications equipment” to enable Delmarva Power to “automatically and quickly restore power to customers outside of the affected damage area,” the fact sheet stated.
“Automatic switching devices will limit customer outages caused by any single distribution event to 350 customers or less by utilizing the new loop feed from Neavitt to Sherwood (across Harris Creek),” the statement said.
As a postscript, Buxton said the “ugly,” snake-proof fences around substations are designed to prevent black snakes from causing outages.
“We’ve had numerous outages” with snakes getting into “the worst possible area” of a substation, Buxton said. “At lot of times it’s in the spring when birds are nesting, and the snakes ... cross a piece of open switch gear where it’s got high voltage connections between both the feeders, and it takes out the entire station.”
Delmarva Power plans to improve electric service to Bozman and Neavitt by installing a $2.1 million underwater distribution feeder across Harris Creek