Electrical upgrades yields results
December 13, 2011
By Jim Dresbach
Upgrading of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's electrical infrastructure along with new generators and the new Radnor Heights substation are constants in the healthy relationship between the joint base and Dominion Virginia Power.
Currently, between $30 to $40 million in upgrades and electrical projects are underway. The utility privatization contract linked the installation and Dominion in 2007. Since then, upgrades of generators, transformers and sectionalizing or isolating switches have become ongoing projects at JBM-HH and at the Fort McNair portion of the base.
"Here at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, we've had 11 generators awarded in 2011, which are in the process of being installed," said Directorate of Public Works electrical engineer Cyrus Jabbari, about the annual installation of a handful of generators. "One was just tested a half hour ago [on Nov. 18]. We also have five generators scheduled to be installed at Fort McNair toward the beginning of the year.
"We have four or five more generators which were awarded in 2010 and are in the process of being constructed, but they will not be finished until the end of March 2012," he added.
Jabbari also noted that another batch of five generators on the base will be operational by the end of 2012.
The base is also witnessing continuing improvement of the underground electrical infrastructure and isolation switches. Much of the subterranean transmission lines and switches are between 50 and 70 years old.
"We are upgrading the infrastructure at [Joint Base] Myer-Henderson Hall; if you've walked around [behind Marshall Drive], you can see all the duct banks or excavations that are being done throughout the base," said Jabbari. "It is part of trying to renew all the conductors and electrical cables that run underground."
The majority of the work is concentrated in the Bldg. 54 vicinity, and the underground infrastructure work will continue through the years 2016 and 2017.
"Some of the switches and transmitters date all the way back to 1967," said Dominion spokesman Marty Travis, a Dominion electric technology and development projects manager. "We are in the process of rebuilding that portion of the system. We expect, with good weather, to have the trenching, duct bank and concrete pads completed by the end of December in that area."
Another ongoing project is the building of the Dominion Radnor Heights substation, which is located on base property but is completely controlled by Dominion. The substation, which will be completed within a year and a half to two years, is located near the dog kennels and Bldg. 205, and will provide reliable power for JBM-HH, the Pentagon and neighboring private and public customers.
"It [the new substation] is not our project, but we are providing the real estate for the new substation project. This is being funded by Dominion themselves," Jabbari said of the substation situation. He also added that continued, preventive maintenance is still needed on older buildings, but manpower and budget restraints may hamper upgrades. What has not been hampered is the mutual respect shared between the installation and the DVP.
"Dominion's work is excellent," Jabbari said. "They are a very reputable company. One of the clauses in the [privatization] contract is that we get first priority in any kind of outage. For instance, if a tree falls on a transmission line outside the base and there is an outage on the base, Dominion responds to us first. We get first crack at the repairs."