Tuning in to the new substation

CITY HALL — City officials got a sneak peek Thursday at a new and improved electrical substation — the result of a roughly $12-million project that utility officials say will make the electrical supply more reliable.

In 2009, the City Council approved the roughly $12-million contract with Beta Engineering LLC for the demolition and replacement of the existing Glorietta substation in north Glendale, which serves 4,000 customers.

The facility is one of 13 electric substations that serve as middle points between the bulk power grid and electric lines.

"It essentially steps voltage down from a very high level to a low level that is manageable," said Glendale Water & Power General Manager Glenn Steiger.

The contract price came in about $1 million above the engineer's estimate for the project, according to a city report.

Utility officials said the upgrade at the Glorietta substation was needed to make its voltage output compatible with the nearby Montrose substation. Once compatible, the two substations will be able to serve as backups, helping to prevent prolonged power outages.

Construction on the Glorietta substation is ongoing, but it is set to be fully operational by May.

"We want to get in service before the summer because summer is our peak time, and we want to make sure we get maximum reliability," Steiger said.

The new substation is also unique in that it will look like a nondescript building, which officials say will reduce the visual impacts to its residential neighbors.

The project, Steiger said, is part of the utility's long-term plan to update all 13 substations.

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