Power fix at Charleston building costs at least $10,000

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Full power service was restored to the Carper Public Safety Building in downtown Charleston Thursday afternoon following an unusual outage that did not impact the entire building.

Kanawha County Planning and Maintenance Director Steve Neddo said the county had to search for a 1,000 pound step-down transformer after one burned up Wednesday.

“It gives you your generic-throughout-the-building power to plug-in stuff like computers, anything that would use standard household 110-volt, that transformer was blown,” Neddo said.

A replacement transformer was located in Mechanicsburg, Pa. It cost the county $10,000. There will be additional costs for shipping.

“You just don’t pick ’em off a shelf. Those are a lot of time custom-made and we had to have a specific type,” Neddo said.

There have been handful of power outages in downtown Charleston during the last week. Neddo said the old transformer malfunctioned as the Carper building was going from generator power back to the Appalachian Power Company grid Wednesday. He said it was unusual to lose the step-down transformer when two other larger transformers, which run larger items in the building, worked fined. All three are specific to the building and owned by the county. 

“It’s highly unusual for transformers like that to blow up. They normally sit there for years and don’t give you any problems,” Neddo said. “We’re going to be investigating to try and find out what caused this. Why did that happen?”

The Carper Public Safety Building houses the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office and most of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department.

Neddo credited Graybar and Square D with playing the key role in helping the county find the replacement transformer.

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