Invasive species, building may help protect KIUC gear

WAILUA — For once, invasive species can be a good thing.

Harold Tomomitsu of Tomco Corporation said motorists in the area speed, and combined with the screening of the haole koa growing in the area, the outdoor portions of the new substation would hardly be noticed.

Tomomitsu was one of the dignitaries present when ground was broken for the new Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative substation that replaced a corroded hunk at the corner of Leho Drive and Kuhio Highway at the end of the Wailua Golf Course.

Tomco Corporation was the successful bidder on the project and was selected as the contractor.

Randy Hee, president and CEO for KIUC, said the Lydgate Substation was suffering from the corrosive effects of the salt-laden onshore trades that blow in from Lydgate Park and it was definitely time to rebuild the station.

He added that another substation, the one located in Kapa‘a, also suffers from similar corrosion.

But that replacement will have to wait until the Lydgate Substation is completed.

According to a press release on the KIUC Web site, the Lydgate Substation serves portions of Wailua and Kapa‘a, and before the old unit was demolished, wiring and transmission capabilities were checked to ensure minimal disruption to customers.

During the construction period which is expected to end in spring, 2009, existing loads are being transferred to Kapa‘a and Kapa‘ia substations, the release states.

“We are looking towards long-term solutions instead of quick fixes,” said Jack Leavitt, KIUC Transmission and Distribution Manager, in the release. “It’s an investment and a quantum leap in reliability.”

During the ground-breaking ceremony, Leavitt was represented by Bernard Na‘ea Jr. who joined Hee, Tomomitsu, construction superintendant Tom Harrington and KIUC board chair Dennis Esaki in undoing the maile lei and turning the ground on the site of the new substation.

Leavitt said the new substation will be an indoor design utilizing gas-insulated switchgear for the transmission section, while metal-clad vacuum switchgear will handle distribution energy from two new power transformers to be installed on the mauka side of the building so the equipment will be shielded from the corrosive trades by the building.

All protective relaying will be microprocessor based and fiber optics will supply communications.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or


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