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NYPA approves funding for transmission line improvements in Massena

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WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Board of Trustees on Thursday approved the award of three competitively-bid contracts totaling more than $21 million to two New York firms in support of upgrades related to NYPA’s Transmission Life Extension and Modernization (TLEM) Program, a multi-year effort to improve the reliability of its transmission facilities in various parts of the state.

The NYPA trustees awarded two contracts, for $16 million, to O’Connell Electric Company of Victor and an up to $5 million contract to Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., of Albany. The contracts will support TLEM projects underway at or near NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Hydroelectric Power Plant in Massena.

“Today’s contract awards support the modernization and good stewardship of NYPA transmission facilities and are part of the public- and private-sector partnerships being pursued under Governor Cuomo’s Energy Highway Blueprint for bringing about a more reliable, economic and versatile electric power grid,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “These partnerships will help to underpin jobs at New York enterprises supporting the improvements while advancing initiatives that are imperative to a modernized electric power system for New York residents and businesses.”

“Improving the reliability and efficiency of our transmission system means better electricity service for residents and businesses,” said Senator George Maziarz, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “Whenever we can make these kinds of upgrades it’s a good thing, and I’m glad to see respected upstate New York-based companies being hired to do the work.”

NYPA owns and operates approximately one-third of the state’s high-voltage power lines, and has transmission assets and facilities that date back to the 1950s and 1960s when it built its major hydroelectric power plants on the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers. The $726-million transmission LEM, launched in December 2012, is being implemented to support Governor Cuomo’s New York Energy Highway Blueprint and incorporates the latest technologies to harden and strengthen the transmission system.

The NYPA TLEM initiative, which extends to 2025, encompasses transmission assets in Central, Western and Northern regions of the state and constitutes projects that include refurbishing transmission line structures and upgrading power plant switchyards and substations. Other dimensions of the overall initiative include investing in smart-grid technologies for maximizing the efficiency of transmission facilities and for achieving greater “situational awareness” of their performance in variable conditions.

The contract awards approved at Thursday’s trustees’ meeting include:

■A $5.2-million contract with O’Connell Electric, for site preparation work related to the installation of new autotransformers—each 38 feet tall, 24 feet wide—at St. Lawrence-FDR’s Massena Substation, to substitute for existing equipment that needs to be replaced. (The autotransformers control power voltage);

■A $10.8 million contract with O’Connell, for the demolition of existing transmission equipment and installation of 16 power circuit breakers and one capacitor bank at the Robert Moses Switchyard in Massena (A capacitor is a device that helps ensure consistent power flow on transmission lines); and

■An up-to $5 million contract with Greenman-Pederson, for inspection and consulting services for the application of paints and other coatings to protect NYPA transmission towers in Northern, Central and Western New York from weathering and corrosion and to extend their service life.

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