Residents Voice Concerns About Substation

Staff Writer

Monday’s village council meeting in New Bremen spent a majority of the time talking with residents living around the northwestern part of town about the best location option for new substation that is being installed.
A previous meeting with landowners happened at a planning commission meeting May 2.
At that meeting, residents were presented with one option recommended by GPD Group who will be installing the substation.
At the village council meeting, five more options were presented to residents, in the form of a letter, from GPD explaining why each location would be beneficial and not beneficial.
The recommended option from GPD, which was the same one presented at the May 2 meeting, concerns many residents because they feel it would give the neighborhood a more industrial feel instead of a feel of a place where people live.
The proposed area is in a field on the south side of the parking lot of Speedway Lanes, along the train tracks that run parallel to North Herman Street with the train tracks separating the substation from the road.
“This location provides the lowest cost that will give both a very good geographic separation of the substations and an excellent distribution of the four circuits that will feed out of the new substation,” said a statement from GPD. “This option also offers the lowest cost for connecting the new substation exits to the existing distribution system.”
Two more options were also listed as possibilities as they are roughly in the same area but pushed a little farther away from the existing neighborhood.
According to the letter from GPD, these options were OK but could delay the process of getting the substation installed since the village would have to purchase the land from private property owners.
The land for the preferred option is presently owned by Crown Equipment Corporation and would also have to be given to the village.
Also, pushing the substation farther away requires the installation of additional circuits to reach the village. Both options are costlier to the village.
The last potential option is to put the substation in the field north of Auglaize Industries, but this location presents the same problems as options two and three and is even more costlier to the village.
There was talk of adding on to one of the existing substations, which council member Jim Kronenberger pointed out isn’t feasible because the village doesn’t have the employees capable of working on that size substation if something were to happen.
“Our employees cannot work on that type of system,” he said. “It will have way too much power that would be need to shoot power down the lines and bring in back. It would be too much, too big. We’d actually need hire different lineman to come in and work on it. And if there was a power outage and we didn’t have people, we’d have to wait for them to show up from where ever we get them from.”
Resident Terry Wiegers asked about once the new station is in place, what would keep the village from adding onto it and expanding more, creating a need for another station.
Village Administrator Chris Dicke said that the need to add another substation is far down the road as the village just started getting toward its maximum last year.
The maximum usage for the village is 15,000 volts and in 2018, the village peaked at 14,200 volts used. With the addition of the Crown expansion, the village will go over that 15,000-volt limit.
“And we’re doubling the size of this one in advance of that,” Mayor Jeff Pape said. “We could put in one transformer and meet this level or we can put in two transformers, so actually we’re doubling what we need … we’re a good 10 years even if Crown were to add another building, which I don’t know what they’re going to do, but I think they’re going to meet their needs pretty well with 500,000-square feet.”
After a long discussion, council did pass a first reading on the ordinance but said conversation will still continue as two more readings are needed to pass.
The next village council meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. May 28 for anyone to express anymore concerns or ask questions about the new substation.