About Us - EED Progress

The past few years have been exciting times for the Department of Electric Services as we modernize the distribution system. In that endeavor, a lot of change has taken place.


  • SUBSTATION REBUILD. Seven of our nine substations, (West, District, Milligan, Winner, Watauga Industrial Park, Okolona, and Hatcher Lane) were completely rebuilt. With these new substations comes better reliability, modernization of our monitoring and control of their performance with SEL (Switzer Engineering Laboratories) SCADA (Supervisory Control Data Acquisition) computerized monitoring and control switching system. The software and controls are state of the art and will save hours and thousands of dollars in reducing outage time originating from substation malfunction to our customers.

    The eighth substation, Hampton, is currently being rebuilt to bring it up to modern standards with new transformers, integration of SCADA and a compatible SEL control house.

    The remaining substation, Primary, which is co-located with the TVA substation on Lover's Lane, is scheduled for rebuild in 2012 with estimated completion of October 2012.

    Our substations were fifty years behind current technology, so rebuilding them was in our ten year capital plan. However, an act of nature served as the catalyst to accelerate that rebuilding plan. Winner Substation was completely destroyed in the December 18th, 2009 storm. (That storm cost us about $1.2 million dollars in unbudgeted funds.) The loss of Winner Substation sparked a fast track rebuild program for the remaining substations. A $20,000,000 bond issue was initiated to start the program. By standardizing design to the maximum extent possible; using one engineering firm; standardizing control houses, switches and SCADA; bidding multiple items at the same time; taking advantage of the historic low cost of financing; and a favorable labor market; our goal was to complete all substations as quickly and at the least cost possible. Documented FAST TRACK SAVINGS TO DATE for all substation work is $3,364,256. Additional savings are expected in fast tracking the last two substations.

  • GIS MAPPING. We are well on our way in getting the total distribution system on GIS software. We have the GPS location of our poles and are mapping our lines in a computerized mapping system.

  • CONSOLIDATION OF FINANCE OFFICE. Financial operations were moved to city hall to give customers one-stop service for water, sewer, and electric bill payment. The consolidation also achieved more economy to scale and will reduce some of our overhead costs.

  • DISTRIBUTION LINE REBUILDS. We did major rebuild of old lines with larger capacity lines in the Hampton, Dry Creek, Stoney Creek and Bristol Highway areas to improve the reliability of service and provide for future growth in those areas. In addition to the rebuilds, a number of added lines are being installed for "back-feed" purposes so that if one line to an area fails, we can quickly switch a line from another area to the outage area to get power back on while the original outage problem is being addressed.

  • TRANSMISSION LINE BUILDS. As we rebuild substations, we are also building 69 KV Transmission Lines to connect the substations and allow us to power customers of any substation from another substation in an emergency for short periods of time. The Winter Substation 69 KV tap line to the TVA Wilbur Dam – Holston Dam transmission line was rebuilt. The 69 KV line connecting Hampton Substation to Hatcher Lane Substation is currently under construction. The 69 KV line connecting Milligan Substation with Okolona Substation will be built in the spring of 2012.

  • TREE TRIMMING INCREASE. We increased our tree-trimming effort to reduce the power transmission loss where trees come in contact with our transmission power lines and to provide clearance from trees in storm situations. This was a two year concentrated effort. These efforts should reduce our costs and provide the customer with more reliable service and fewer outages caused by trees.

  • CONSOLIDATED COMPUTER SOFTWARE. We consolidated computer software so all city departments are on the same software package. That consolidation will reduce our overall computer and software cost by several thousand dollars per year. With the new software, we will then be able to take on-line credit card, debit card, and checking account payments and will eventually be able to send e-mails to customers through the system to those customers who provide us their e-mail.

  • FIBER OPTICS CONNECTIVITY. As we rebuild substations, we will run fiber optic line connecting substations to City Hall and the Office at Hatcher Lane. This fiber is multi-purpose. First, it connects the SCADA to our office. We have multiple problems trying to use DSL and Cable internet service for this purpose, both from line speed and reliability purposes. Both DSL and Cable service are too slow to stream live video, SCADA and security monitoring and weather data. The fiber optics will also form the backbone for future AMI meter data receiving. By stranding our own fiber optics, there will not be a band width problem or capacity problem. We get the added bonus of using them for IP phone service, connecting all phone systems in the city. Phase I of the fiber optics installation was completed in March, 2011, connecting the office at Hatcher Lane with Hatcher Lane Substation, and City Hall. The fiber optics connection with Hampton substation will be completed as the 69 KV line is completed. The balance will be completed by fall of 2012, on a substation by substation basis.

  • WEATHER STATIONS. With new substations, we added live, on line weather stations to selected substations so we can monitor weather conditions from our office and know when we are getting sleet, high winds, amount of rain and other information for immediate use or historical use. This allows us not to depend on the weather at tri-cities airport, but to have real time weather at Winner, District, Milligan, and Hampton Substations. It also allows us to print degree heating or cooling reports for different parts of the service area. In some instances, the temperature can vary by 10 degrees and wind gusts can vary tremendously. All this information is important for future line and substation design as well as for customer information about local degree heating or cooling comparisons.

  • NEW WEB PAGE. A new web page has been designed which is more informative, better customer oriented and more user friendly.

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