New transformer arrives; scheduled to be in use by Jan.

MORGAN CITY, La. — The city’s new transformer arrived Saturday morning at the capacitor substation next to the sewage treatment plant on Youngs Road, and the transformer is expected to be in use by January 2014, Morgan City Utilities Director Bill Cefalu said.

The transformer was transported by train to New Orleans and then brought by truck to Morgan City, he said.

Workers were putting together all parts of the transformer this morning, Cefalu said. The transformer cost $1.1 million.

Insurance covered the delivery, cost of the transformer, and construction of the transformer, which had to be taken apart to be transported, Cefalu said. The new transformer is 112 megawatts and weighs 150 tons, he said.

The transformer should be reassembled within the next few days, Cefalu said. Materials have been ordered to connect the transformer into the system, he said.

Some of the parts to connect the transformer into the system will not arrive until December, Cefalu said. “I don’t suspect this thing will go on line until January,” Cefalu said.

The process to get the transformer on line is to first install the transformer and items necessary to get power to the transformer, and then attach the transformer to the power grid. Installation of all the parts to hook up the transformer will take two to three months, Cefalu said.

Within the next month or so, the city’s power load will be low enough that the city can take either the Unit 3 or Unit 4 generators off line, and everything will run on the “old transformer,” Cefalu said.

The Louisiana Energy and Power Authority built the capacitor substation where the new transformer will go, he said. “I requested they leave enough room to put another transformer for future use so we’d have a backup,” Cefalu said. “We switched from putting the new transformer at the (Joseph Cefalu) steam plant because we have the old one sitting there being used, and we can keep all that in place.”

The old transformer will be kept on line until the new transformer comes on line, Cefalu said. The old transformer will then be used as a backup if the city ever needs to use it, he said.

The new transformer “will have every product that you can purchase to protect this transformer and the system,” Cefalu said.

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