Columbia City Council Approves Additional Power for Downtown

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council unanimously approved an amendment to extend an electric distribution circuit from a substation Monday night.

The electric distribution circuit extension is from the Rebel Hill Substation located on St. Charles Road in Columbia. The approval of the extension will provide additional capacity downtown.

The project is called the Rebel Hill Feeder Circuit 212 and will provide five megawatts of additional power for the downtown area. Additionally, the proposed extension will increase system reliability. The estimated total cost for the extension is $1.4 million, but the project already has secured $1 million in capital improvement funding.

Columbia Water and Light Director Tad Johnsen described the technical side of the project at the meeting. He said 55 percent of the circuit will be built as new underground, 10 percent will be built using existing underground, 14 percent will require rebuilding of existing overhead circuits, and 20 percent will require the use of existing overhead circuits.

The project will mostly affect the first ward, and First Ward Member Ginny Chadwick asked Johnsen about the possibility of having a downtown substation.

"We have to actually find a site, develop a site, and then we have to connect it, typically, on the transmission level to supply it," Johnson said. "So, as time goes by we might investigate what the possibility of a downtown substation might be."

The project would extend the circuit to Ninth Street and University Avenue, as well as Fifth Street and Conley Street.

The construction on this project is expected to begin this summer and will be complete in the summer of 2015.