The project will center around the installation of two new switch cabinets along Wellman Road, one at its western intersection with Grogans Mill Road and one further east near the municipal pool facility. The two cabinets will be connected by a new trunk line, linking the subdivisions along Wellman to an existing underground feeder on Grogans Mill.
In a presentation to the council during its regular Dec. 11 meeting, Entergy representative Troy DeBeaumont said the project will expand the number of individual circuits serving the area from one to six. Three circuits will extend from the cabinet near the pool facility to the subdivisions along Wellman and three will extend to the Shenandoah Valley via a new overhead line.
DeBeaumont said the addition is expected to improve Entergy’s local service and lessen the impact of potential power outages for residents in the area.
“Entergy saw it as an opportunity to increase the reliability and our switching capabilities in the city. So it will allow us, during a storm event, to restore power faster,” he said. “We’re diversifying the exposure from a single feed ultimately down to six feeds from there, so in the event of an issue it’s going to be a lot fewer customers affected.”
DeBeaumont said the project’s total cost is between $750,000 and $800,000. Entergy will pay for the installation of both switch cabinets and the trunk line, while the city’s $160,000 contribution will go toward connections between the eastern switch cabinet and the subdivisions of Silverwood Ranch, Malaga Forest, Lily, Tuscany Woods and Wellman Manor. The funds were included in the city’s current year budget for a potential project to address the city’s recent electrical outages.
Entergy’s project plans are complete, and the company will work to order materials needed for the initiative before the end of the year. Entergy hopes to begin construction in the first quarter of 2020 and finish the project before summer, DeBeaumont said.
“As a company we decided this is a good opportunity, not just for Shenandoah, but for a lot of the other customers and giving us additional switching capabilities and routes to route our power. It really benefits the whole area,” DeBeaumont said.
Council members all supported the project overview and approved the city's $160,000 contribution in a 5-0 vote.
“[Entergy sees] this as being a very positive customer service move, and I think it’s a win for us,” Mayor Ritch Wheeler said.