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On Wednesday, January 6th, the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities announced the completion of a third redundant transmission line into the community's electrical system. The CBPU partnered with ITC Transmission Company in what has been the culmination of a 4-year process to improve electric reliability in Coldwater.
The transmission upgrades started with the announcement of the Clemens Food Group locating their newest facility in Coldwater in 2016. This new electrical load, coupled with the community's existing electrical needs, required additional transmission line investment. The CBPU and ITC Transmission got to work planning system improvements to support power quality and the area's growing load.
Previously, Coldwater had two transmission feeds coming into the city, but on the same structures. "This presented some risk to our industrial customers. We wanted to provide more redundancy that would reduce the risk for all of our industrial and residential customers that depend on reliable power," said Jeff Budd, Utility Director for the CBPU.
The approach: a two-phase, multi-year project that would bring new substations and transmission lines to the City of Coldwater, and Coldwater, Girard, and Union Townships. Phase one of the project consisted of constructing a new electrical substation located off Jonesville Road that connects to the existing Michigan Avenue substation via a three-mile, 138kV, single-circuit transmission line. The CBPU began construction in late 2016 and finished in early 2017. Phase two of the project consisted of a new ITC substation in Union Township that connects both the existing Verona – Batavia 138kV transmission line and the Jonesville substation via a new 138kV single-circuit transmission line. Construction of the Union Township substation and transmission line was completed late in 2019. The final piece of construction, the Butters substation, which began in early 2020 and now connects to the existing Coldwater – Michigan Ave 138 kV line, will be wrapping up this month, essentially completing the project.
"The tremendous amount of work over the years speaks to the focus and dedication of both the CBPU and ITC teams to improving the Coldwater system," said Andrew Cameron, Electrical Engineer for the CBPU. "We appreciate that ITC was willing to work with our industrial customers to minimize the impact on their production. The partnership between ITC, CBPU, and our industrial customers was unique and necessary to get the job done."
Now, as Coldwater looks to the future, its infrastructure has become a selling point to attract new investment, especially in its rural areas that previously weren't able to compete. Says Budd, "When it comes to economic development, where we're located, we're competing with Indiana and Ohio. A potential customer always wants to know about the quality of Coldwater's power. Now, we take them out and show them the ITC substations and how we've built redundancy into our system. It makes a big difference."