Posted tagged ‘Pepco’

Pepco Meets with Community to Discuss Harvard Disstribution Project

January 16, 2019

Travoris Culpepper, Pepco’s Public Affairs Manager, sharing information and taking questions.

As part of Pepco’s larger efforts to increase service and reliability to the District’s electrical system, Pepco began the Harvard Distribution Project in October of 2018 to provide load shedding to the Ft. Slocum Substation as well as preliminary work to upgrade the Harvard Substation. Thus far, construction has primarily been along W Street, NW, between 13th and 10th Streets. Much of this work has been done and construction should be completed on W Street by the end of January 2019 (weather permitting). While this all sounds good, the construction on W Street has been extremely disruptive, with residents along the project describing extreme noise and vibrations causing cracks in their home’s plaster and mortar. These concerns resulted in Pepco hosting a community meeting on January 15, 2019, to provide an overview of the project’s timeline, address concerns, and  provide a general idea of what to expect in the coming months and years.

In response to feedback Pepco received concerning the work along W Street, NW, Pepco stated it heard the residents loud and clear. They will work with their crews to address noise as much as possible. They confirmed that most of the digging along W Street is completed, but that there are still steel plates in use. To dampen sound, they have begun putting wood chips beneath the plates. As Pepco moves forward, they will also consider excavating smaller sections when they have to cut into the existing pavement.

For the Harvard Distribution Project, the basic timeline, route of construction, and how they are parsed by section can be seen in the illustration below. Construction began on W Street in October 2018, and the project will run through Summer 2019 — impacting Sherman Avenue, Girard Street, 10th Street, and Harvard Street.

All in all, Pepco crews will be installing nearly 8,500 ft. of conduit and 21 manholes along the route illustrated above. Residents along the route can expect:

  • Trenching and temporary steel plates;
  • Installation of duct banks and manholes; and,
  • Installation of cable.

The project will also be used, as part of the Capital Grid Project, to supply the Harvard Substation load in advance of the substation rebuild. Set details about the Capital Grid Project’s timelines were not available at the meeting due to the case still being under review by the Public Service Commission. That said, Pepco thinks the timeline for the Harvard Substation rebuild/replacement will be similar to what is shared below, with demolition happening perhaps by the end of this year, construction in 2020, and completed in either 2020 or 2021.

One significant point that was raised by Darren Jones of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association at the meeting was the concern about power outages. Pepco addressed the need to cut electrical service when the new cables and substation are eventually brought online. Pepco representatives were unable to estimate when the power would need to be disrupted, or even for how many people, but stated that once the Public Service Commission has finished with their review and they have a better idea on that aspect of the project, they would be able to better calculate when the outage will occur and what the size of the area will be. Generally, a planned outage will occur overnight beginning around 11pm and last for 4-6 hours. Scheduled outages are necessary when new cables are hooked up and will be necessary when a rebuilt Harvard Substation is completed and connected to the system.

Pepco restated their commitment to work with the community and provide notice to households that they expect will be impacted. Jennifer Kuiper of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets specifically addressed how service disruptions can severely impact small businesses like the ones on Georgia Avenue and requested that Pepco meet separately with small business owners to help ensure that their concerns are heard and needs met. Pepco stated they would definitely do this.

More information will be forthcoming once the Public Service Commission has finished their review of the Capital Grid Project. For now, it looks like most of the construction will be south of Columbia Road and predominately on Sherman Avenue.

Pepco Open House on Capital Grid Project Informative

July 19, 2017

Pepco’s open house at E.L. Haynes provided an overview of their upcoming Capital Grid project. The Capital Grid effort is Pepco’s 10 year infrastructure project that is designed to:

  1. Upgrade the power system;
  2. Increase capacity; and,
  3. Network the system.

Generally, the project will rebuild the substations at Harvard Street and Champlain Street, as well as install new transmission lines from Takoma south to the waterfront. The entire project is estimated to be completed by 2026.

The following video by Pepco provides an overview:

Installing the new transmission lines will impact New Hampshire Avenue from the District line to Georgia Avenue, and then south on Georgia Avenue to Gresham Street. There it will travel west to the Harvard Substation. The video below provides an idea of how the work will be performed on Georgia and other area streets.

Pepco has set up a Web page where people can learn more about the Capital Grid project (click here).

Pepco Hosting Open Houses to Discuss Their Capital Grid Project

July 13, 2017

Pepco is scheduling two open houses where we will share information about their Capital Grid project, which will impact Georgia Avenue and other parts of the neighborhood once it gets underway. The project is a 10-year infrastructure plan that is designed to improve reliability across the system, address capacity needs in the growing Capital region, and make the system less vulnerable to strong storms and other unexpected events.

The Capital Grid project includes rebuilding and upgrading the Harvard Substation at Harvard and Sherman.

Their first open house will include a formal presentation at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School on July 18th (see flyer below). After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to speak with Pepco experts about the Harvard Substation construction and learn more about how it may affect the neighborhood. Renderings of the upgraded substation and other components of the project will also be available.

Highlights of the Capital Grid project include:

  • Upgrading three existing Pepco substations (including the Harvard Substation)
  • Building a new substation in the Mount Vernon neighborhood
  • Installing a new 10-mile underground transmission cable that will connect these substations for greater reliability and resiliency against storms

Overview of Pepco’s Capital Grid Project

May 2, 2017

Diagram showing existing (green) and new (yellow) substations that will be involved in Pepco’s Capital Grid Project.

On the evening of May 1st, Pepco hosted Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to brief them on their upcoming Capital Grid Project. The project’s goal is to build an underground transmission route through the District from the north to the south. This is necessary to create multiple pathways of power supply to connect multiple substations in the Capital area with higher electrical load capacity. In short, this creates a “networked system” that improves reliability and resiliency.

The underground transmission lines will be constructed from the Takoma Substation in Prince George’s County through the District to the Waterfront Substation. The feeders will travel approximately 10 miles, connecting five substations: Takoma, Harvard, Champlain, Mount Vernon (proposed) and Waterfront. The flexibility this will create will support faster service restoration and reduce the potential impact of major unforeseen event.

In our area, work will begin around Fall 2018/Winter 2019 in the area of New Hampshire and Georgia avenues and move south along Georgia Avenue through the Spring/Summer of 2019. On Georgia Avenue, the scope of work will close two of the four lanes as new transmission cables are put underground via trenching. Each night steel plates will cover the trenches. Work will continue down Georgia to Harvard or Gresham, before turning west to the Harvard Street substation.

The Havard Street Substation will also be upgraded and expanded as part of this project, with work commencing as early as 2019 and estimated to be completed around 2022 or 2023.

I will continue to share more information about the construction aspect of this project as we get nearer to the start date. Pepco will also be sharing information directly to the community.

Update on Pepco’s Harvard Substation Upgrade Project

May 19, 2016
Pepco Substation No. 13, at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, with 2914 Sherman in the background.

Pepco Substation No. 13, at Harvard and Sherman Avenue.

Pepco is currently in the process of improving reliability of electrical service and preparing for a growth in demand for electricity in Ward 1. Their efforts to do this are largely centered on the Pepco substation located at Harvard Street and Sherman Avenue.

To accomplish this, Pepco plans to meet future electrical needs by converting the 4kV underground distributions cables in the area to 13kV cables to enhance service and the system’s reliability. Prior to the work currently being undertaken, Pepco crews have installed nearly 17,600 feet of new conduit and 45,000 feet of new cable. They have also replaced 83 transformers. For their current phase of the project, crews will install/replace approximately 18,000 feet of cable, along with 45 transformers, 4 manholes, 4 switches and additional electrical equipment. The construction began in March 2016 and is scheduled for completion by December 2016. A more detailed fact sheet is available here, and includes the map below:

Harvard Conversion distribution map Spring 2016

In addition to the underground power network upgrades, the Harvard Substation also needs to be upgraded. The building contains aging equipment that must be replaced by 2022 in order to meet increased demands for electricity in the area. To facilitate the substation upgrade, Pepco purchased the property to the north (2914 Sherman) and razed it in order to install temporary electric equipment that will continue to provide electrical service while the main substation is off line and being upgraded. The work that still needs to be undertaken is as follows:

  1. Establish temporary electric equipment: The temporary equipment will provide electric service in the area for the entire period the existing substation is out of service during the upgrade. Work to install the temporary equipment will likely start in 2018.
  2. Transfer electric load to temporary equipment: Once established, Pepco will transfer the electric load from the Harvard Substation to the temporary equipment.
  3. Upgrade Harvard Substation: Pepco anticipates the upgrade of the Harvard Substation will begin immediately following the electric load transfer to the temporary equipment and will work with the community to ensure the design of the upgraded Harvard Substation is harmonized with neighboring architectural themes.
  4. Transfer electric load back to the Harvard Substation: After upgrades are completed, the electric load will be transferred back to the upgraded Harvard Substation from the temporary equipment and the Harvard Substation will resume providing electric service in 2022.
  5. Disassemble the temporary equipment. Following the load transfers back to the upgraded Harvard Substation, the temporary equipment will be disassembled.

Additional and future information on the Harvard Substation project — as well as other Pepco reliability projects — is available on the Pepco Web site here.

Then and Now: Pepco’s Harvard Street Substation

November 12, 2015

Here’s a great then and now comparison of the Pepco substation located at Harvard Street and Sherman Avenue. Substation No. 13 was built in 1907 and designed by architect Frederick B. Pyle. Currently, it is Pepco’s oldest operating substation and one of the oldest purpose-built substation buildings still standing. To keep up with demand, additions were also constructed in 1920, 1921, 1929, and 1944.

Below is an image of what it looked like in the late 1950s.

Harvard Substation late 1950s(Image courtesy of Pepco)

Substation No. 13 was the first purpose-built substation constructed outside of the boundaries of the original City of Washington. Compared to other substations built prior to 1929, the Harvard Substation is the most architecturally significant as it is unique in its inclusion of a hipped roof, dormer windows, and stone quoins. These details are likely the result of a two month battle between residents of Columbia Heights and the city which attempted to prevent the substation from being constructed. The resulting building was an attempt to make the building more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Below is what the building looks like today.

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Looking at Pepco’s Anacostia Substation

October 30, 2015
Pepco substation No. 8, located at 2415 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

Pepco substation No. 8, located at 2415 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

While Pepco is on most minds these days  due to the proposed merger with Exelon, I’ve been taking some time reviewing Pepco’s substations. There was a time when Pepco actually generated power, sold electrical appliances, and was part of a larger corporate structure that included streetcars. Today, all of that is gone leaving Pepco focused on distributing power to homes and businesses throughout the metropolitan area. The distribution of electric service is accomplished via Pepco’s many substations, which generally transform power voltage up or down between the electricity generated and the voltage needed for consumer needs.

One of the reasons I’ve been looking at substations is because some of them may be rebuilt, closed, or renovated in response to changing technology and the growth of Washington in the coming years. This will eventually include the substation at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, designated as substation No. 13. I’ll write more about this substation in the near future.

IMG_9593

The Anacostia Substation (No. 8) was constructed in 1927, and is the third oldest substation in operation in the District of Columbia and the oldest operating substation east of the Anacostia River. The oldest is actually the one on Harvard Street (dating to 1907) and the second oldest is No. 21 located between 16th, 17th, K, and L streets NW (dating to 1923).

What is particularly noteworthy with the Anacostia substation is that it has survived 88 years with little to no loss to its architectural integrity.

With regards to the numbering of substations, I’ve also learned that while lower numbers may give some indication of age you can’t rely on them to help place substations in chronological order. Numbers can and have been reused. For example, Anacostia is substation No. 8 and was built in 1927. However, the original substation No. 8 was located in a building next to the Trinidad streetcar barn on Bennings Road.

Anacostia substation(A view along the east side of the building showing electrical equipment.)


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