WAPA Reports Steady Progress Reconstructing St. Thomas East End Electrical Substation

East End Electrical Substation site – October 2019

The reconstruction of a new electrical substation on St. Thomas’ east end is progressing with contractors having poured a concrete roof last week. The substation was damaged in the 2017 hurricanes, and when completed early next year, it will restore normal electric grid operations to the eastern end of St. Thomas and to St. John.

An electrical substation is part of the transmission and distribution system. These facilities transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse. A substation may include transformers to change voltage level between high transmission voltages and lower distribution voltages or at the interconnection of two different transmission voltages. WAPA operates seven such substation facilities territory-wide.

“Without the substation in Estate Nazareth, the electrical transmission system to St. John is being provided by the Tutu substation and by the Donald Francois substation in Long Bay. Distribution feeders, which provide residential electrical service, are being provided by other substations,” said Lawrence J. Kupfer, executive director/ CEO.

Using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding, WAPA is replacing the damaged facility with a poured concrete structure to protect the facility from future storm damage. In addition, a control and protection room will also be built to allow for safe operations by engineers and technicians.

“This project will increase reliability and prevent further switchgear failures at the East End Substation. The complete loss of the facility two years ago has placed an increased strain on the power system,” Kupfer said.

Upon completion of this project, the East End Substation will provide service to St. John and to St. Thomas’ east end including critical community facilities such as the V.I. National Guard Armory, Montessori School, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, Foodtown Supermarket, Port Authority Red Hook facilities, American Yacht Harbor, Ritz Carlton Resort, Bovoni Landfill, Bovoni Commercial Center, Bureau of Internal Revenue headquarters, DPNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, National Park, Homeland Security, and VIPD facilities.