Backup power planned for Iroquois

Rideau St. Lawrence Utilities Inc. CEO John Walsh makes a presentation to South Dundas council Mar. 3, 2015. The hydro utility plans to add a second transformer station to Iroquois this year as an emergency backup. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

MORRISBURG – The hydro utility serving portions of South Dundas has a big project in store for 2015 – adding a second transformer station in Iroquois.

Rideau St. Lawrence Utilities CEO John Walsh was in Morrisburg Tuesday night to bring councillors up-to-speed on the hydro company and its planning for 2015.

RSLU describes it as an education session, as the tour the municipalities they service, where there’s been a high turnover in council during the municipal election.

Walsh told council Rideau St. Lawrence is a “mature utility” and much of the money is spent on upkeep of infrastructure.

Its big project this year is adding a second transformer station in Iroquois and it will cost a lot – likely a six-figure price tag.

When asked by Cornwall Newswatch, Walsh declined to give an exact number as the work is during out to tender. “For us it’s the single biggest item we’ll do this year,” Walsh said.

Once the contract is awarded, it takes 26 weeks to build the transformer and ship it to Iroquois, so Walsh believes it likely won’t come to the community until sometime in September.

Iroquois is the last community serviced by Rideau St. Lawrence to have an emergency backup transformer station. “If something were to happen to that (main) transformer, there’s no backup for it. No easy backup for it, it would take time (to restore power),” Walsh said.

If the power system had a major malfunction, the utility would bring in a portable transformer on a truck.

He says the balance of work this year is replacing older poles and wires in places like Iroquois and Morrisburg, where the community infrastructure is 60 years old.

He also says the utility will continue with its tree-trimming plan including calls-for-service, which can be approximately two dozen a month.

Rideau St. Lawrence Utilities services approximately 6,000 customers in Cardinal, Iroquois, Morrisburg, Westport, Williamsburg and Prescott. The utility is owned by four municipal shareholders and FortisOntario.

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