Jerry Patty, an engineering supervisor for Georgia Power in Rome, said that nearly a dozen of the capacitor banks are being installed across the city of Rome, funded by a Smart Grid Investment grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
John Kraft, a spokesman for Georgia Power, said that Southern Company, the parent company of Georgia Power, signed the grant in 2010, agreeing to match the federal grant of $165 million with $166 million from their own coffers. The Georgia Power portion was $52.8 million from the state utility and $52.2 million from the DOE.
The capacitor bank project is a sub-project called a distribution efficiency program.
“Capacitors are used to stabilize our voltage, mainly during times when things are real hot or real cold and load affects voltage,” Patty said. “They have an automatic control on them that puts them on line when they are needed and takes them off line when they’re not.”
The utility will be installing 1,700 capacitor banks statewide as part of the project.
“We’ve been setting a lot of these things up around town recently to try to keep the voltage up,” said Perry Carnes, one of the linemen working on the installation of a capacitor bank on East Third Street on Wednesday morning. “People are adding so much load, so many more businesses, that it’s trying to drop the voltage down. This will pick it up and keep everything running steady like it’s supposed to.”
Patty said a computer program is used to consider numerous variables, such as high demand areas, to determine where the capacitor banks are actually installed on the system.
The project in Rome is about 50-percent complete.