Bids come in over budget for electrical substation

Posted 7/22/21

The Powell City Council awarded a contract for $103,785 to Electro-Test and Maintenance Inc., a Rapid City, South Dakota, company, to commission the Vining Substation. 

“Once it [the …

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Bids come in over budget for electrical substation

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The Powell City Council awarded a contract for $103,785 to Electro-Test and Maintenance Inc., a Rapid City, South Dakota, company, to commission the Vining Substation. 

“Once it [the construction] is completed, a crew comes in and basically gets it ready to fire up … which needs to be done before you fire up your $3 million project,” said City Administrator Zack Thorington. 

The city received three bids, all of which were above the engineer’s estimate of $55,000. 

Electro-Test had the lowest bid, and Thorington said the city has worked with the company in the past.

“They’re good to work with,” said Steve Franck, Powell electric superintendent.

Thorington said that, even though bids came in over budget, the city’s engineer did not recommend going out for bid again. With labor and material shortages, prices continue to rise. Rebidding the project would likely result in the city having to pay even more for the service — or possibly have no contractor available to do the work, the officials felt.

Due to those rising costs, Thorington said the overall project will likely exceed the original $3.1 million estimate, which will require the council to approve a budget amendment at a later date. Some projects — such as a storage facility for the electric department — might have to be delayed as a result. 

Considering rising costs for construction projects of all kinds, Mayor John Wetzel said the city has been lucky it’s stayed within budget on the project for as long as it has. 

“I think we should take this and run,” Wetzel said. 

Franck said there have been issues with delivery of some minor materials needed for the project. The regulators are the largest item that’s been delayed — which has pushed out the completion date — but “it’s actually going pretty good,” Franck said. 

A fire in June 2019 shut down the 30-year-old substation, leaving the city without power for several hours. The event initiated the effort to renovate the station in order to handle the higher loads the city has now and will have in the future. 

Franck said the substation should be able to handle the extra load during the Park County Fair, which starts next week, as temperatures aren’t expected to be too high. 

The city will need to have a series of planned outages to complete the construction. The exact times and dates are still unknown. 

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