Utility Outlines Future Ocean City Upgrades

OCEAN CITY – Delmarva Power presented an update this week on ongoing and future projects planned in Ocean City.

According to Delmarva Power Senior Public Affairs Manager Jim Smith, the company annually invests millions of dollars to repair, replace and add new equipment to improve reliability.

“I know it is important … to give you an update on what we have going on project wise to improve reliability here in the town of Ocean City,” Smith said. “What I wanted to do is give you a snapshot of some of the major projects that are going on.”

Smith explained that in order to enhance electric service reliability and maintain a stronger and more consistent flow of energy in the Ocean City area, Delmarva Power is expanding its existing 138th Street Substation and installing a Static Var Compensator (SVC), which is similar to a booster pump that helps keep the electrical pressure constant across the Delmarva Power system.

While the result will be increased electric service reliability for customers in eastern Worcester and Sussex counties, the $26 million project will mainly benefit customers in Ocean City and the site plan details will be provided at an upcoming planning and zoning meeting.

Smith furthered that the 138th Street Substation went into service in the mid-1970’s, but an expansion is necessary because this part of the system is vulnerable to low voltage conditions and that is where transmission lines need to be reinforced.

Based on the current configuration of the transmission system, the project was targeted to prevent blackouts, which are outages, or brownouts, which are unacceptable drops in voltage, particularly during the summer when usage in Ocean City reaches high levels. Pending approval, Delmarva Power anticipates construction to begin this year with in-service date of May 2013.

Another project on the table is a transmission upgrade and rebuild from the community of Maridel to Ocean Bay to improve electric reliability.

Delmarva Power will rebuild 69 kilovolt (kV) transmission system between the Maridel on 41st Street and Ocean Bay substations on 85th Street. It is a $3 million project being done in coordination with regional grid operator, PJM Interconnection, to satisfy reliability criteria and meet electric load demands on the transmission system in Ocean City and the surrounding area.

The project is slated to begin in early January 2013 and be completed by the end of April 2013. It will be a total of 90 poles, including 45 transmission poles and 45 intermediate distribution poles. The existing 65-foot wooden transmission poles will be replaced with 90-foot, self-supporting, galvanized steel poles, and the existing 35-40-foot wooden intermediate distribution poles will be replaced with galvanized steel structures of the same height.

During construction, there will be intermediate lane closures of the bus lane and the right traffic lane coordinated with the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Town of Ocean City.

Delmarva power is currently finishing a multi-year cable/transformer replacement in Montego Bay that began in 2008. This fall, cable replacement will begin in the community of Caine Woods initially targeting streets with most cable failures, south of 139th Street, with completion targeted by the end of the year.

Mayor Rick Meehan expressed concern over the upgrades being made in the Caine Woods community.

“I did understand when you started off saying that you were spending $142 million on system upgrades and I certainly hope that since that large amount expenditure has been budgeted that you would take every precaution to do everything possible to make that upgrade to that facility as compatible as it can possibly be with our community,” he said.