A mobile transformer unit
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June 2, 2021

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2 min. read

Energizing Tomorrow

Hamilton, ON

How innovative solutions kept customers energized and resulted in 9x of the planned equipment replaced

Multi-million dollar investment project in collaboration with Alectra Utilities to upgrade aging infrastructure and add smart devices

Communities are growing and we’re here to help them thrive. We’re committed to modernizing our electricity system to build a better and brighter Ontario.

To ensure power supply remains stable and reliable, we must continue upgrading critical aging infrastructure.

This requires a lot of planning and coordination to minimize customer disruptions when completing necessary replacements — bundling as much work as possible when making upgrades.

Aging infrastructure at risk of failure in Hamilton

In Hamilton, the Newton Transmission Station is undergoing a multi-million dollar investment project in collaboration with Alectra Utilities.

During recent upgrades in May, Hydro One and Alectra exceeded critical work targets and replaced nearly 9x the amount of equipment planned.

Many insulators at the station were more than 70 years old and at risk of failure. The original plan was to replace 30 insulators, however teams replaced a total of 265 units — representing approximately 60% of the station’s insulators.

As an innovative solution that would allow for more work to be done, crews energized a Mobile Transformer Unit to keep customers connected to power. The transformer on wheels travelled to the region to provide a temporary power solution that would allow a night crew to come in and make additional upgrades.

Without the Mobile Transformer Unit, 8,500 customers would have been without power during the critical repair period.

Photo of a Mobile Transformer Unit

A Mobile Transformer Unit used to keep customers connected to power in Hamilton.

These upgrades serve the increasing demand in the Hamilton community, especially while Hamiltonians are working and studying from home. The project provides improved reliability and potentially avoids future unplanned loss of supply events that would likely have a much longer repair time.

What are insulators?

At Hydro One, safety always comes first. Upgrading these insulators maintains electricity reliability. They’re also an essential piece of safety equipment because they stop electricity in power lines from flowing down a pole or tower to the ground.

When we repair aging infrastructure such as insulators, the process typically takes longer and poses increased risks of more loss of supply events.

An old electrical insulator

Crews replaced aging infrastructure, including insulators seen above.

Planned outages are necessary to ensure crews can work on site safely to make these proactive repairs. And while these are planned, all efforts are made to minimize customer disruptions.

"By working in tandem with Alectra, we were able to reduce service disruptions, bundle upgrades and replace aging infrastructure to enhance power reliability in Hamilton for years to come," said Andrew Spencer, Vice President, Transmission and Stations, Hydro One."Crews worked around the clock to modernize Newton Transmission Station and replaced nearly nine times the amount of equipment planned."

Andrew Spencer headshot

Andrew Spencer, Vice President, Transmission and Stations, Hydro One


This project supports power for customers in the west-end of Hamilton by upgrading Alectra’s distribution system and Hydro One’s transmission station.
 

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