Sudbury Hydro to rejuvenate decades old substations

Two Sudbury power distribution substations that have been in use since the 1950s are set to receive upgrades to help the city better deal with unplanned power outages.

Crews have been replacing hydro poles to prepare for multi-year project

Crews have been hard at work replacing Greater Sudbury Hydro poles to prepare for the refurbishing of the nearby Kathleen power distribution substation. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

Two Sudbury power distribution substations, that have been in use since the 1950s, are set to receive upgrades to help better deal with power outages in the city.

This is why residents have been seeing crews replacing hydro poles in certain neighbourhoods, says Wendy Watson, director of communications for Greater Sudbury Utilities.

The Kathleen substation in the Flour Mill, near Notre-Dame Avenue, will be the first to get its upgrades. Work should begin this summer, Watson says.

That one was built in 1952, and was put into service later in the decade.

The Kathleen power distribution substation is set to undergo a major makeover this summer. (Supplied photo)

The Cressey substation, located just off Lorne Street in the city's West end, is slated to get a similar makeover in 2021. It was built between 1951 and 1953.

"In some areas of the city right now, on computer, we can simply re-route power to some areas. This is going to allow us to do that in more areas in the city," Watson explains.

Sudbury Hydro's Cressey Substation was built in the early 1950s and is slated to be renovated in 2021. (Supplied photo)

Three smaller substations — Tedman (built in 1975), Regent (built in 1962) and Centennial (built in 1967) — will be taken out of commission after renovations are complete on both larger facilities.

"It will increase the reliability to our customers that are served by each of those respective substations," Watson says.

"[The Kathleen and Cressey facilities] work fine, but it's really old technology that's there."

Landscape to change too

The large metallic structure looming over the station on Kathleen Street will be dismantled.

"All that aerial infrastructure that you see outside, that's going to come down and be replaced by ground-mounted equipment," Watson explains.

Wendy Watson is the director of communications for Greater Sudbury Utilities (CBC)

She adds the company is preparing information to send out to nearby customers who may be affected by power outages within the next few weeks.

"There have been some planned [power] interruptions, and there will be some more as we do this," Watson says.

Residents will also notice construction activity on Kathleen Street near Notre-Dame Avenue this summer.

Rates unaffected

The renovations won't cause hydro rates to rise.

"The cost of this project is worked into our regular capital budget. It's already been contemplated. It's already part of our rate structure," Watson says.

"The real purpose of this project is to increase the resiliency and reliability of the system. You have to renew equipment, and this is old equipment."

With files from Benjamin Aubé