A spare transformer at the West Sparta Substation looks to be irreparable leaving the city without a back-up power plan.
Sparta Electric Utility Manager Belva Bess said if the main transformer were to go out, the city would be without power for at least 12 hours.
“I did talk to them, to TVA, we have no back up plan,” Bess said. “We can’t feed. We do not have a secondary feed. We are talking about them bringing us in a mobile transformer just to be on site if something (happens), hopefully nothing does. We would prepared to be able to switch over. Otherwise, it would be a half a day, a day we would be out.”
Bess said ownership of the transformer is shared between the city and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative. City Administrator Brad Hennessee said the city has located a mobile transformer for the time being. Moving the equipment from Knoxville would cost the city $4,000, which would still be covered by insurance.
“We are thinking that it is money well spent at this point to go ahead and get the mobile transformer,” Hennessee said. “We did find one that is a dual voltage transformer that will work for both Caney Creek Fork’s side and Sparta Electric.”
Bess said insurance of both groups would pay up to $100,000 to operate the TVA mobile transformer.
“I talked to the insurance company this (Thursday) afternoon,” Bess said. “There is some documentation of course we are going to have to send, and we’ve sent off to an engineer that is doing some rework at the substation. We figured they know all the specs and everything for that, and they are sending out a replacement cost.”
The estimated price tag for a replacement is $800,000 that should be covered by insurance, Bess said. Hennessee said if repairs cannot be made, a new transformer could take up to 48 weeks to be delivered.
Bess said the electric department is still waiting for the final leasing papers for the back up transformer. The Board of Alderman during Thursday’s meeting approved for Mayor Jeff Young to sign the TVA lease when it becomes available. Hennessee said each day the mobile transformer is used costs $800 not including fuel or other expenses.
Bess said the spare transformer is the same one that caused the city power outage in late November.