Tallahassee Chamber supports city’s substation plan

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Tallahassee business leaders are supporting the city’s proposed plan to boost power in targeted northeast areas that border Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

City officials say the facility, which includes a substation, is necessary to provide power to customers with critical needs, such as the hospital, in times of an outage. It’s also part of a larger plan to retire older, more expensive to operate power facilities scattered citywide.

The $30-million project, referred to as “Substation 12 Reliability Program,” received unanimous support from the board of directors of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. However, it has sparked mixed feelings among residents, some of who say it would be an eyesore in their backyard.

“The Sub12 Reliability Project will provide a new direct power generation source for some of Tallahassee’s most important assets such as Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and the Tallahassee Police Department,” Chamber Chairman Reggie Bouthillier said in a March 7 letter to City Manager Rick Fernandez. “The Sub12 project also increases reliability and backup generation for Capital Regional Medical Center and other medical facilities along the Miccosukee Medical Corridor.”

Hurricane Hermine made landfall in the Tallahassee area in September and caused havoc and power outages. The disruption caused by the Category 1 hurricane illustrated the need to improve infrastructure in a city dominated by trees.

The chamber is often measured whenever it weighs in on controversial issues. Bouthillier said the question of reliable power was one it couldn’t ignore.

“When the Chamber of Commerce takes a position on an issue that is critical to the success of our community, we do not do so lightly.”