Power association plans new substation

Published 5:00 am Friday, July 6, 2007

Magnolia Electric Power Association has begun a process to builda new substation to provide service to the East Lincoln andMallalieu areas of Lincoln County.

Darrell Smith, general manager of MEPA, cited Lincoln County’s”unprecedented residential growth since Hurricane Katrina” as thereason for the new substation.

Smith said the company has experienced a 7.8 percent increase inconsumers in last year, especially in the targeted area. The newsubstation will provide power to 2,021 members.

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“We’re experiencing that all over our system at an acceleratedrate,” he said.

Power for the East Lincoln and Mallalieu areas has traditionallybeen provided through the MEPA’s Jayess and Entergy’s Brookhavensubstations, Smith said. The new 20 megawatt substation is expectedto draw eight megawatts of load from those facilities.

“Hopefully, that will carry us 20 years into the future,” hesaid. “We try to look as far forward as we can, but sometimesthings like Katrina happen that magnify the situation.”

Better distribution of the service load will allow the companyto provide better service to its members throughout the area andalso reduce outage times by reducing the length of the linesnecessary to serve the area, Smith said.

It will still be some time before MEPA can move forward withtheir plans, however.

“We’re in the very beginning processes,” Smith said. “The PublicService Commission has given their approval, but we need toidentify transmission routes and decide where to locate thesubstation. There’s a lot of preliminary work that needs to bedone.”

The East Lincoln substation is a joint venture between MEPA andSouth Mississippi Electric Power Association (SMEPA), a generationand transmission cooperative headquartered in Hattiesburg. WhileMEPA will own the substation, SMEPA will own and operate thetransmission lines.

SMEPA is determining the most economical and least obtrusiveroute for the transmission line now, Smith said.

Although the exact location for the East Lincoln substation hasnot been selected, he said it would be in the approximate center ofits service area.

Smith said MEPA hopes to begin construction on the substation bythe end of the year with a projected 2008 completion date. The newsubstation is expected to cost MEPA more than $2 million.