Del­marva Power to im­prove service to Boz­man, Neav­itt

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

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

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