Switch station should improve reliability of electric service
AEP is building a “gas-insulated switch station” at the substation, said Harold Ashley, a community affairs manager with AEP.
Port Aransas receives part of its electricity from transmission lines that lead into town from a procession of towers along Padre and Mustang islands. Other transmission lines lead from Aransas Pass, dipping under the Corpus Christi Ship Channel before arriving in Port Aransas.
The transmission lines lead to the substation, which lies on the east side of State Hwy. 361, just south of an Island Construction firm location. Electricity from the high-voltage transmission lines is broken down into smaller, safer voltages for delivery to buildings around town by way of smaller power lines.
Switches at the substation control how power flows to different parts of town, said Omar Lopez, a spokesman for AEP. The switches “can either interrupt the flow of energy through the transmission line, or redirect it, or simply turn it off,” Lopez said.
Workers can use the switches to stop power to a certain area in case a live wire is down in that area, or so AEP workers can do work on lines in the area for some other reason, Lopez said.
Current switches at the substation are outdoors. The gas-insulated switch station being built at the substation will lie inside a small building to be erected at the site. Keeping the switches indoors and not exposed to the elements will make them more reliable, Lopez said.
The current switches are controlled manually on the site, but the new ones may also be controlled remotely, off-site, Lopez said.