Bryan BPA Goes Forward On The 34.5 kV Electrical Upgrade Project

By: Tim Kays

The Bryan Board of Public Affairs continued to move forward on the improvement of the electrical infrastructure of the city on March 16.

Two measures were addressed and passed to upgrade the service capability and reliability of the city’s power distribution system. The first, Resolution #13-2021, authorized the Director of Utilities Nate Gardner to advertise for bids for the construction of the 34.5 kV Upgrade Project.

“As the Board may recall,” Gardner said, “in Resolution #5-2020, the Board authorized agreement with SSOE Group, which is our engineering firm, for the bidding and construction oversight services for the 34.5 kV Upgrade Project.

In previous resolutions that we had, #2 and #3-2021 relating to the contract of various major equipment components, such as the structure, the transformers, those bids are completed.”

Approved at the January 19 meeting, Resolution 2-2021, authorized Mr. Gardner to execute a $158,650 agreement with Tatman Associates of Cleveland for the purchase of the 69 kV substation structures for the 34.5 kV Upgrade Project.

The engineer’s estimate for the project came in at $157,250. The aforementioned Resolution 3-2021, authorized Gardner to execute an agreement with the Virginia/Georgia Transformer Corporation of Roanoke, Virginia, for the purchase of two 69/4.16 kV power transformers for the 34.5 kV Upgrade Project at the price of $876,152. The engineer’s estimate was $990,000.

“To remain on schedule and within the parameters of the least disturbance for those affected by this upgrading according to the plans and specifications,” Gardner continued, “…we want to get this moving. We found out when the transformers are coming and structures are arriving.”

Gardner said that it was a last minute addition to the agenda because their schedule is tight, and he wanted to get the bid documents out. “We have all those structures and transformers, and now we just need this construction portion of the project.”

The second measure, Resolution #14-2021, authorized the execution of a $108,880 agreement with Spectrum Engineering Corporation for Phase I of the Power Plant Substation Rebuild Project.

Power Production Superintendent Jim Coressel addressed the Board, saying, “If you recall, with the 34.5 upgrade, part of that was to start in the Industrial Park, and then the Titan Tire part.”

“Then the final portion would be at the power plant to get the generation up on the 69 kV line, and to provide some feeders that were closer to a couple main customers, basically Ohio Art and Bard, in order to prevent outages during storms and things like that in the long run.”

Coressel explained that significant savings were achieved when Spectrum recast their bid in the light of BMU employees pitching to help with the construction efforts.

“They were under the understanding that we would spread this out and use BMU employees to the point where we would even do our own foundations, use the Water Department to maybe dig the holes for us, and Electrical and us to set structures and things like that.

So as you look at this,” Coressel said, “…this could be even less than what you’re seeing right here. Spectrum Engineering came back with a Phase I portion of $108,880, which is quite a bit less than the $200,000 we had anticipated. So that’s a $91,000 savings…a little over that $91,120, a little less than 7% of what they quoted as an estimate for Phase I, which would be $742,150.”

“They definitely understand how we’re trying to spread this out so that we can be as fiscally frugal as possible with the finances of the future for the utility, and to bring about yet a more reliable system to complete that reliability that we’ve been looking for, for years.”

“It amounts to a considerable savings,” Gardner said, “…so thanks to all the help here for making that happen.” “And kudos to you guys for utilizing our people to do some of the work,” said Board member Dick Long. “Those guys are fully capable of doing it. I’m glad to see we’re on that thought process of using our own workforce for anything we can do to save money.”

In other actions, the Board approved Resolution #15-2021, authorizing wage adjustments for non-bargaining unit hourly and salaried staff. The measure provides a 3% wage adjustment for all full time non-bargaining unit staff, as well as part time non-bargaining unit employees.

The Board also approved the reclassification of Eric Herman, who resigned from his role as the Local Programming and Production Lead as of March 24. An 18-year employee, Herman was reclassified as a part-time videographer as he has accepted a communications coordinator position with the Paulding Putnam Electric Co-Op.

Gardner reported on a wind-induced, 18-minute power outage on March 15. “We had a couple phases that kind of slapped together and created a few fireballs,” he said, thanking the response from the Bryan Fire and Police Departments, as well as the Street Department and the Electric Department who all responded to the location to get the power back up in quick order.

Tim can be reached at tim@thevillagereporter.com


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