"We need this substation to meet the increased electrical demands of the area," said William C. Gallagher, division manager for PE's Warminster operations. "It was originally in our five-year plan, but we moved it up a year because of demand which we experienced last year and because of the construction which is taking place."
Gallagher said he hoped the plan would be on the township supervisors' agenda for preliminary approval as soon as possible. Final approval should follow quickly, said Shea.
Gallagher said he hoped construction could start soon so the substation could be in operation for next summer's peak electricity demand.
One item that must be cleared up is the status of an 8-foot fence around the substation. Township ordinance requires a special exception or a variance for any fence more than seven feet high.
Gallagher said the fence, with a foot of barbed wire on top, was mandated by the National Electric Safety Board. He said the Public Utility Commission would likely insist on the 8-foot fence.
Shea said the matter could probably be resolved with a phone call to township solicitor Richard Molish.
According to PE engineer Charles Campbell, the substation will cost $14 million, with half of the expense devoted to on-site work and the remainder to increased distribution circuits. The substation will be on a 2 1/2-acre lot adjacent to PE's service building on Park Avenue.
A substation takes power from high-voltage transmission lines and transforms it to a lower voltage for distribution to industrial, commercial and residential customers, said Gallagher.
Sketch plans for the substation were first reviewed at the Planning
Commission's Sept. 28 meeting. No action was taken at the time because township engineer Russell Dunleavy had not seen the plans.
Dunleavy provided the commission with a letter Wednesday pointing out a few minor, technical flaws but recommending conditional approval pending resolution of those matters.