Business Pensacola

Gulf Power and City partner to upgrade Downtown Pensacola grid

February 8, 2018

Gulf Power will soon embark on a long-term project designed to upgrade the reliability and performance of its energy grid in downtown Pensacola.

Beginning early this year, Gulf Power and the City of Pensacola will partner to modernize the downtown’s existing underground power-grid network. The five-year, $83 million investment will modernize the current 70-year old network delivering energy to downtown Pensacola, and improve reliability and redundancy, as well as allow Gulf Power to increase capacity in the future as the area grows.

“These projects are part of Gulf Power’s five-year program to replace and upgrade systems to better serve our customers in the downtown area,” said Rick DelaHaya, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Although the power network has been meticulously maintained over the years, it is 70 years old, and the time has come to replace outdated equipment and update the system. These upgrades will improve reliability through updated smart grid monitoring devices that can speed up power restoration.”

This is the second project in downtown in recent months to upgrade systems to increase reliability and redundancies. Late last summer, crews replaced and consolidated numerous utility poles, while many overhead line crossings and transformers were also removed, improving aesthetics of the area.

“The key to keeping reliability high for customers is investing in technology, maintenance and upgrades,” added DelaHaya. “Making sure our customers can count on us for reliable energy is very important, and the investments we continue to make in our system are paying off.”

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  • Reply NotaGOB February 12, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Mr. Reality…had the entire system been destroyed after Ivan it would have taken months to get downtown back on line. The grid around Palafox Place is very stable and the most reliable because much of it is already under ground. That is why you can go downtown, if you can manage without being caught and thrown in jail, and see lights operating at the Intersection of Palafox and Garden during most storms. During Ivan the storm surge flooded the downtown area and thus caused some water damage to the system. Water and electricity do not work well and I am guessing the flooding caused many of the Pad Mounted Transformers situated around the Palafox Place loop to blow. I am sure this is what required fixing after Ivan along with any other gear that got soaked in bay water.

    As for the rate hikes? I cannot answer to that but I can say that most of Gulf Powers Infrastructure requires upgrades to better withstand the higher wind velocities we are now seeing regularly with the increased higher rated storms.

    Back in 1994 you could get a permit to build a home meeting 100 MPH wind load. Today you must meet 140 MPH wind load to get the same building permit. Codes are changing to meet the higher wind loads we are seeing now and Gulf Power has to improve it’s infrastructure to meet these higher demands on it’s equipment and the structures that house this equipment as well.

  • Reply Mr reality February 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Notagob….gulp told us just after ivan the entire network was destroyed by ivan, that was why they needed a rate increase. Now we are upgrading a new network? Huh?

  • Reply NotaGOB February 9, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Mr. Reality….the answer is NO the system was not upgraded after Ivan it was just repaired where required. The Grid around Palafox Place is one of the most reliable in the County but needs major upgrades. The other thing that Gulf Power plans to do is remove many of the overhead lines all around the core Downtown area and move them underground as well. This will insure that more of the electrical system downtown will be impervious to wind damage which is the major cause of power outages during storms.

  • Reply Mr. Reality February 9, 2018 at 12:29 am

    i thought we paid to replace the old 70 year network after IVAn destroyed it ….

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