BUCHANAN, Mich. – Indiana Michigan Power announced some major power grid upgrades just before the Thanksgiving holiday, with the construction of a new substation in Buchanan, appropriately named Bucktown Substation, just outside of downtown.
According to I&M Communications representative Corey Ohlenkamp, the decision to build the new substation was made after demand for electricity increased as more businesses – such as cannabis dispensaries – moved to Buchanan.
But to connect this substation to the grid, I&M took the opportunity to upgrade the transmission lines that feed high-voltage electricity into the grid and run from Bridgman and the Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant to Buchanan.
“The two things that we’re really focused on in Indiana and Michigan are safety and reliability, and so upgrade projects like this are critical,” said Ohlenkamp. “A lot of these systems are about seventy years old, and that has old wooden poles and a lot of other equipment that’s not really up to standard anymore.”
I&M will install new 90-foot steel towers, hundreds – if not thousands – from Bridgman Substation to Buchanan, about 20 miles of transmission lines.
“We want to make sure that these are strengthened as much as possible,” said Olenkamp. “Obviously we’ve had a lot of storms this year in both Indiana and Michigan, so we’re always trying to improve reliability. We have these wooden bars, we know they age and we want to maintain that standard of reliability. Steel bars, they are much more stable. They will endure a lot more and just last a lot longer.”
Although construction isn’t scheduled to begin until 2026 – with an estimated completion date of summer 2027 – this is just one of 20 other projects I&M plans to take on in both Michigan and Indiana to ensure its customers have power even when when you are there need.
Ohlenkamp said: “We want to ensure that every step of the way from our power stations to the connection to your homes is as strong as possible to maintain reliability.”
It is currently unclear whether power will need to be temporarily shut off for some customers during the project. However, should residents have any questions or concerns, I&M will be available on Tuesday, 6 204 Red Bud Trail in Buchanan from 5-7 p.m