Power company works to expand Nasonville substation

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BURRILLVILLE – Narragansett Electric Company has begun a project to expand a substation on Douglas Turnpike, replacing equipment damaged by a fire in 2022, and adding a second transformer at the location.

The work is expected to enhance the power company’s operations both in the village of Nasonville and the surrounding region, with upgrades on a 2.297 acre lot to include replacement of asphalt with stone, and installation of new chain link fencing. The substation project at 445 Douglas Turnpike will also include installation of a new 115kV overhead supply line connecting to a Woonsocket substation in the future, as recommended following a Northwest RI Area Study of the grid, at a total cost of $3.7 million in 2025.

The project will address energy reliability concerns that began when one of the station’s transformers was damaged by a lightening strike in August of 2022. The substation was slated for upgrades prior to the damage as part of a broader statewide plan for grid modernization, and the planned repairs were later added to the project.

Expansion of the substation has already commenced, with the company preparing the site for a second transformer. According to a report from the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, installation work will be complete by the 2027 fiscal year. There is not expected to be any interruption to service or area traffic during development.

“For reliability related work, the company is proceeding with the second transformer as the restoration work is completed,” the report noted. “This is only a portion of the total solution and the company’s assessment for the need and feasibility of a second 115kV transmission supply should be evaluated further.”

The business, also known as Rhode Island Energy, needed approval of four zoning variances in Burrillville for the project to move forward, including for use, and dimensional variances for the size of the property of 5,309 square feet, as well as the frontage and height of the structures. Represented by Attorney George Watson of Providence-based Robinson and Cole, the power company received a positive recommendation of a preliminary plan for the project from the Burrillville Planning Board last September, and zoners unanimously passed all requests without stipulation in November.

Final approval was granted administratively by Town Planner Raymond Goff.

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