/Hydro One repairing substation
Crews work to prep the area where a new transformer will be installed at the Hydro One substation along County Road 21. The transformer that once occupied this space was destroyed in a fire on July 26 during a severe storm. CHAD INGRAM

Hydro One repairing substation

Hydro One has been working to replace a transformer at its substation along County Road 21 after it was destroyed in a fire July 26.

“Crews have been working on an expedited basis since then” Andrew Spencer vice president of transmission and station for Hydro One said during a tour of the facility on Aug. 30.

Crews were working levelling the area where the burned transformer once stood and where its replacement will be installed.

“We’ve been working seven days a week with extended shifts” Spencer said. At the height of the cleanup there were up to 50 employees working at the normally unmanned station.

“There is monitoring on a 24-hour basis from our centre in Barrie” Spencer explained.

The substation is one of 300 such facilities Hydro One operates throughout the province.

“A station like this was equipped to have two transformers” Spencer explained. For the time being it is operating with one and the utility has brought in two mobile transformers that are being housed at the site in case backup is required. It is the first time that Hydro One has used mobile transformers for such an application.

A new transformer will be transported to the site this fall and Spencer said it is scheduled to be in service by the first week of November. The cost of the transformer plus the cost to installing it and getting it operational is expected to total about $5 million.

When the transformer caught fire on the afternoon of July 26 it was during a severe storm that brought thunder lightning and large hail stones with it. While lighting strikes can cause such fires “it’s a little premature to say that was the cause” Spencer said. While and investigation into the cause of the blaze has been ongoing “we may never know” Spencer said.

The Minden substation is scheduled for a rebuild and it’s likely that work will commence in 2019.