Monday, December 16, 2002
Campus electrical upgrades nearly complete
By Jeff Samoray, OU Web Writer
Oakland University's electrical system upgrades will be complete by the beginning of January and ready to provide a high-quality source of power for the main campus as well as support the institution during a continued period of growth over the next 15-20 years.
A $6 million Detroit Edison substation, named the Spencer Substation, was constructed on the south end of the main campus off Lonedale Road. The substation will be energized during OU's December holiday break, effectively creating a much more reliable source of power than the current substation, which is located near Walton Boulevard and I-75 and uses overhead power lines, said Rusty Postlewate, associate vice president for facilities management.
"Usually a power outage is caused by weather problems and an older infrastructure," Postlewate said. "But once the switch is made an entire new underground infrastructure will be in place. We completed the replacement of all the underground electrical cabling and switchgear for the buildings on the main campus in November, so our end of the work is finished. Right now we anticipate that Detroit Edison will energize the new Spencer Substation over the Christmas break so there will be minimal disruption."
New backup power lines also were created for the two power lines that currently feed the main campus, which will further increase reliability, Postlewate said.
"From here on, we assume that the switchover to the new substation will be invisible to everyone," Postlewate said. "People expect a reliable source of power to be present. Not only will that be available, but it will continue to meet expectations and support the growth of the institution for many years to come."
Nearly 120,000 volts will feed the Spencer Substation. That voltage will be reduced to 13,200 for the switchgear for OU before it is transmitted to buildings on the main campus. OU's power capacity will increase from about 7,000 KVA (kilovolt amps) to 15,000 KVA.