VISIT FROM BUTTE COUNTY UNDERSHERIFF – Butte County Undersheriff Kory Honea asked Gridley City Council members to show their support of the second amendment at the Monday night Council meeting. (Photo by Lisa Van De Hey)

The purchase of a new 28MVA transformer for $225,000 will mean the City of Gridley's electricity is covered for the next 30 years according to Electric Superintendent Daryl Dye.

Currently serviced with a 10MVA transformer, the electrical demand in the summer could have meant a shortage of electricity for residents during extremely warm temperatures. The Electric Capital Fund has a current available balance of $356,548, leaving $72,000 for the pad design cost.

In order to accommodate the 98,000 pound transformer, a specially designed pad will be added to the substation. The new transformer will also require a moat surrounding the transformer to collect any transformer oil in the event of an oil leak.

Council members also agreed to hire Bridge View Resources, LLC to design the infrastructure upgrades to install the transformer. Bridge View LLC was approved for a variety of services on an as needed basis at the October 15, 2012 Council meeting, in particular any work associated with the electrical and public works departments.

Bridge View's original estimate to assist in the infrastructure needed was $175,000, according to Hickey, but was dropped to $72,000 after discussions with staff. An electrical engineer will be required to develop/design the schematic needed to connect the transformer to the City's system. The City's electric crew will perform part of the work.

The proposed cost to have the transformer moved here is expected to be between $80,000 and $100,000 according to City Administrator Rob Hickey.

Actual construction costs are not included in the $72,000 bid. Once the bidding process is completed these costs will be presented to Council.

Dye traveled to Healdsburg to inspect the transformer and explained to Council members that the transformer had not been used but had been owned by a developer no longer in business.

Original estimates to achieve a major upgrade for the electric department were estimated at $3.2 million but Hickey explained that this new transformer at a cost of $225,000 is a great deal. Estimates for the same size transformer had been $1 million previously.

The City of Healdsburg has agreed to hold the transformer until the City of Gridley has the site ready with a pad. A special crane and truck will be used to transport the transformer which means it is more feasible to wait and move the transformer just once.

Hickey explained that the City will cover the cost of the transformer now and the pad will be constructed in January 2014 with a short term loan from other departments.

The City's Electric Department has installed equipment for the Pacific Motel project which included the installation of a 100kva pad mount transformer and box pad. Work will be completed when the new meter panel is installed by the project electrician.

For the rest of this story please pick up a 3/22/13 edition of The Gridley Herald.