BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Despite the current sunshine and warm temperatures, winter weather is quickly approaching.
Following last year’s snowstorms, National Grid is making updates to their substations to keep the power on for people.
During last December’s blizzard, the high winds forced snow inside three Buffalo substations, coating the equipment – which ultimately shut off, leaving roughly 10,000 people without power.
“The way the stations are designed is, they’re brick structures, and the transformer bays have to be open so that we can get airflow around the transformers,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “We started to see snow accumulate on the back wall of the transformer bays and as it accumulated, it reached a point where our equipment tripped itself offline.”
This wasn’t an issue during last November’s snow storm, but the relentless winds and high rate of snowfall during the Christmas blizzard caused this problem.
“In my 30 years at National Grid, this was the first time we ever had this happen. Folks are referring to it as a ‘once in a generation storm,’ but we don’t have the luxury of assuming it was,” Kujawa said. “We don’t want to be in that position again where we have to worry about our transformer bays.”
National Grid officials have designed and are now installing new vents and louvers (shutters with horizontal or angled slats) on the Buffalo substations ahead of the change in weather. This will allow airflow while also keeping the snow outside.
“We want to install a permanent solution that would protect our transformer bays 24/7 in the event of a blizzard forecast going forward,” Kujawa said.
The plan is to be done with all the updates by early 2024. Right now, crews are continuing to work at the substation on the East Side, one of the three which went down last year, so that way it’s completed by next week.