Main distributor of power in Peru needs urgent updates

Council discusses plans for the city’s main substation

The Peru substation, one of the main distributors of power to Peru, is in need of updates within the next year to 18 months, according to City Engineer Eric Carls.

If the City Council doesn’t move forward on plans for the substation now, Carls said during Tuesday’s meeting there is a high probability of impact for residents. Carls said the substation needs to be moved from Water Street to Center Street to remove it from a flood zone, and the decades-old equipment needs to be replaced.

With the age and location of the substation, Alderman Tom Payton asked if the city would be able to supply power to the city if the substation were to go down.

“I’m not sure we could meet the (electric) demand without that substation,” Carls said in response.

Carls said once ordered, materials are 30 to 50 weeks out because of supply chain issues. Alderman Jim Lukosus said the council should move quickly on ordering these materials so the city isn’t reacting to a situation if the substation were to fail.

Carls said he doesn’t want to create a public panic about the possibility of losing the substation. While the substation is in need of updates, there is no reason for residents to worry as long as the city moves forward with these plans now.

The council expected a grant announcement to help fund the project in June that never came through. Carls said the city will continue to hope a grant comes through and explore those options, but said the city needs to take steps forward.

Alderman Dave Waldorf agreed, saying the council needs to move forward in terms of site prep and ordering materials. “It’s not going to do us any good as a city to just wait for a grant.”

Finance Director Justin Miller and Treasurer Jackson Powell plan to develop three different financing options for the estimated $9 million project by the next council meeting. Miller said the city still has unknown expenses on the project and Carls said he won’t have an exact cost until a later date.