6/26/17 – A $2-million-dollar upgrade to electrical substations in Juneau will make the power grid more reliable. That’s according to Mayor Dan Wegener who says Juneau is currently getting (quote) “dangerously” close to capacity. He says the upgrade will increase capacity citywide for years to come. A substation near Clearview is getting the major upgrade with unused parts from that upgrade being transferred to the substation in the park by the utility office; a third substation located in the industrial park will not be updated. He says if a substation that covers the west side of Juneau goes down they have the ability to use the substation from the east side. Wegener says while the current substations are operating close to capacity there is currently no concern with a power grid failure. In addition to an increase of energy-efficient equipment on the market for consumers he says there is also a great working relationship between the utility and its largest users. He says “if power does need to be throttled back, not shut down, but throttled back then [the utility] has the ability to do that.” Wegner says the utility does have the option of switching between substations if needed. The upgrade will take all of this year and most of next year to complete. The utility has been setting aside funds for this project for years and the mayor says utility rates should not see any immediate effects. There are approximately 750 residential using the city-owned utility in Juneau along with government facilities and large industrial users like Sensient Flavors. Wegener says that the power grid upgrades will only enhance offerings in the city’s industrial park where he notes there are “good-sized lots” available for purchase.