The NYPA Board of Trustees has approved three-year contracts with Ferguson Electric Construction Co. of Buffalo and Welsbach Electric Corp. of Queens in support of the Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) Program that is scheduled to get fully underway at LPGP late next year.

“The Power Authority’s contract awards are part of the ramping up for the refurbishing of the Niagara Project’s Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant and demonstrate our continued commitment to maintaining the integrity of NYPA’s critical infrastructure,” said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel. “The overhaul will contribute to maximizing the efficient operation of the Niagara Project to produce low-cost electricity for Western New York, including key businesses employing tens of thousands of people. Our partnering with various New York-based contractors on the LPGP initiative will further advance the state’s economy in providing revenues for those businesses, with reliance on local union trades people in the disassembly and reassembly of equipment.”

Last June, NYPA trustees authorized initial capital expenditures of $131M in their approval of the $460M Life Extension and Modernization Program, which will increase the reliability and efficiency of the Lewiston pump-generating plant. The LPGP upgrade will be similar in scope to a LEM that NYPA completed in 2006 at the Niagara Project’s main generating facility – the Robert Moses Niagara power plant. Both initiatives reflect highly coordinated endeavors for replacing or renovating original major generating equipment for improving overall performance flexibility and efficiency.

A $4.05M contract with Ferguson Electric provides for the company’s installation of four new generator step-up transformers (GSUs). The work will include the removal and disposal of the existing transformers, installation of new units procured under a separate contract, and structural repairs to the GSU containment pits and access hatches.

Another contract was awarded to Welsbach Electric, for $2.96M, for replacing existing transmission voltage terminations that connect underground cables to overhead lines. The work will include the disconnection, disposal and replacement of the existing terminations, pot-shaped insulating fittings connected to three 230kV lines.

The work by Ferguson Electric – the largest electrical contractor in Western New York ¬– and Welsbach Electric will commence toward the end of this year and be undertaken in four phases for completion by the spring of 2013.