Grid modernization program at CPS Energy involves installation of 500+ reclosers

This week Burns & McDonnell said that CPS Energy had selected its firm as program manager for a 4-year grid modernization program to improve service quality for the utility’s nearly 850,000 electricity customers.

The goal of the grid modernization initiative is to help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, reduce storm impacts and restore service faster when outages occur.

Burns & McDonnell will serve as engineer and construction manager as CPS Energy launches its Accelerated Recloser Deployment Program, which calls for installation of approximately 144 recloser devices and an additional 300 TripSaverseach year on distribution lines throughout the city. Recloser counts will increase throughout the life of the program.

The firm will provide planning, engineering design, testing, installation/construction and commissioning of the recloser and TripSaverdevices on a turnkey basis. CPS Energy will be responsible for equipment and materials procurement. 

Often used in place of conventional fuses, reclosers test whether faults are temporary and, if so, can restore power quickly with very little detectible interruption. The devices are designed to automatically open, interrupting electrical current when a fault occurs, and then automatically reclose to detect if the fault is still present.

“We are incredibly excited and humbled by the trust extended to us by CPS Energy,” says Leslie Duke, president and general manager Burns & McDonnell offices in the Houston region. “This is an investment that will pay dividends many times over for the residents of San Antonio, and we are excited to deliver on this groundbreaking opportunity.”

1898 & Co., part of Burns & McDonnell, will perform all planning activities for specific substations where analysis of distribution grid identifies the need and placement for equipment down to the individual circuits.

Once installed, the firm’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and technical field services (TFS) teams in Houston will be handling the final phase of testing and commissioning of the equipment and bringing it online for CPS Energy. The project is on track to start construction in mid-July with delivery of the first batch of reclosers. “Automated fault detection devices are among the most important elements of a more reliable and resilient electrical infrastructure,” says Don Cannon, distribution engineering manager for the Texas region of Burns & McDonnell. “With the ability to detect everything from minor voltage sags to more serious power events, these system improvements will greatly improve overall service quality and reliability for CPS Energy.”

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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