The Florence Township Council recently approved an ordinance for a short-term lease agreement with Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) as part of a project to upgrade the Bustleton substation in Burlington Township.
The unanimous decision from the township council came at a meeting on April 17 when the project was introduced to the public at an April 3 meeting by Joe Barton, a representative from PSEG.
Barton said that the Bustleton substation is in need of an upgrade and as part of the project, PSEG’s team will have to change one transformer at a time. He explained that in the event that a second transformer should supposedly fail, the entire township of Florence would lose power.
In order to avoid a possible loss of service, he said that PSEG plans to construct a mobile substation on a piece of township owned property across from Florence Township Memorial High School, which called for the short-term lease ordinance regarding that property.
“We have a need for a project that we call our ‘contingency plan,’” Barton said. “We have a substation in Florence Township. That substation is currently at 138,000 volts. It’s a transmission line that goes from Burlington […] through Trenton that feeds that station. We are upgrading that line to 230,000 volts, which will provide more power for the area.
“On the high voltage side of the station, we will have to replace circuit breakers, transformers, disconnect switches – we will have to upgrade that to a higher voltage. When we do that, that station has two transformers,” he reported.
Barton explained that even though the station appears to be one line, two lines run from Burlington to the station and another line on the station connects to another station across from there which goes into Trenton.
“We can take a section of line out in Burlington to Florence and still keep those transformers in service or vice-versa. But when we upgrade this line, we are going to build a tower line on the east side of a right of way we have which is 150 feet wide,” he said. “Currently, the line is on one side, so if we are going to build a line – in some areas on one side – and in other areas such as in Florence, that are going to go on the west side. When we do that, we will have to change the transformers one at a time.
“When we change that transformer, all the load at the Bustleton substation is on that one transformer. If something happens to that transformer, we would lose all that power in Florence,” he said.
Barton explained that the mobile substation will not be used unless power from one of the transformers fails during the switch. He noted that the planned project will be a temporary facility that will be energized and powered up, but will have no voltage load on it unless there is an issue at the Bustleton station.
“[The mobile substation] will sit there for a period of time until we complete the upgrade for both transformers,” he said. “Once Bustleton itself is in service, there is no need for the unit substation to be there anymore.”
Throughout the course of the planned project, Barton said that it is PSEG’s responsibility to provide the township with an alternative power source while they work on the Bustleton station.