Electrical Substation Re-energized
The City of Pierre has re-energized its third electrical substation. Evans Street Substation, located near the Eighth Street and Highway 14 intersection, has been offline since September 2018 for a major upgrade.
The Evans Street Substation was originally constructed in 1967 when most households didn’t have the number of devices that are now prominent in most homes.
“Demands on our electrical distribution system were very different in the 60s,” said Brad Palmer, City Utilities Director. “We needed to right-size the facility so it could meet the growing demands of our customers.”
The $10 million upgrade replaced nearly every piece of the substation including the control building, control panels and switchgear, circuit breakers, capacitor banks, steel structures, and buswork. All of those pieces of the substation convert electricity that comes from a power generation site to a watt level that can be safely distributed throughout the community. Palmer says that the modernization of the infrastructure is essential to providing reliable electric service to the community.
“Some of the substation infrastructure was over 50 years old. The older the material, the more inclined we are to experience a failure,” said Palmer. “There was a lot of stress on the system because it was originally designed to meet the needs of 1967 Pierre, not modern Pierre.”
Palmer said that with the upgrade the Evans Street Substation should serve the community well for another 50 years. The Evans Street Substation works in conjunction with two other city-owned substations and one federally-owned substation. Together, these substations distribute electrical power to Pierre.
For the last eight years, the City has been investing in its electrical infrastructure. In 2013, it built the Garfield Substation located in the vicinity of Kennedy School to better serve the expanding northeast portion of Pierre. In 2018, it improved the Ash Street Substation that is located just off of N. Harrison Avenue; it began the construction phase of the Evans Street Substation project in 2019.
“Local government does utilities and infrastructure,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “It might not be the most exciting topic, but keeping our utilities and infrastructure in good shape is absolutely essential to a functional community.”
All three projects were financed with government bonds that are repaid through electrical rates.