The Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P) is in the final stages of a $55 million program to upgrade and strengthen its infrastructure across the state as the summer season – the time of greatest electricity consumption – approaches. CL&P’s preparations for the summer begin during the previous fall and are done annually to reduce the likelihood of service interruptions for customers.
CL&P has taken a number of steps to prepare for the peak demand summer months and better serve its 1.2 million customers in 149 cities and towns across Connecticut, including:
- Building new substations in Wilton and Bethel that serve customers in Wilton, Redding, Weston, Norwalk, New Canaan, Bethel, Danbury, and Newtown;
- Installing additional transformers at substations that serve the towns of Stamford, Enfield, Suffield, Windsor Locks, and East Windsor;
- Undertaking distribution system projects in 38 communities to increase circuit capacity – the ability to provide electricity to customers without compromising the delivery equipment when temperatures and electrical demand are at their highest. This includes work at substations that serve the towns of Bloomfield, Windsor, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford, Old Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, South Windsor, Vernon, Ellington, and East Windsor;
- Performing inspections and follow-up maintenance on all distribution substations in areas where heavy customer demand is expected or where failure of a single piece of equipment would result in long interruptions to large numbers of customers;
- Verifying the integrity and efficiency of cooling equipment at all major substations to ensure the equipment will be appropriately cooled to avoid equipment failures from overheating while carrying peak summer loads;
- Conducting infrared surveys of the transmission lines (except for no-fly zones) and all of CL&P's 235 substations. These surveys test and verify the integrity of the connections on major electrical delivery systems and help CL&P identify potential trouble spots;
- Completing foot patrols of the transmission lines to inspect electrical equipment and structures;
- Installing new distribution equipment and repairing existing equipment to optimize power delivery systems;
- Performing maintenance and upgrades on underground electric delivery systems to strengthen them;
- Working with ISO New England, within the provisions of Connecticut's 2005 Energy Independence Act, to encourage large commercial and industrial customers to consider conservation and load management measures during times of peak demand;
- Testing voltage reduction programs to verify the ability to temporarily reduce demand, if necessary;
- Reviewing and modifying operating procedures; and
- Continuing an aggressive educational and outreach effort to promote conservation measures across the state.
Many of these actions are focused on southwest Connecticut, an area of< great concern for CL&P and the entire region. CL&P continues to move forward with several projects that will upgrade the existing transmission system to meet the growing demand for electricity in that part of the state.