Building excitement from (below) the ground up

By Patrick Stella

Utility work is not always exciting. Bolts are turned, wires are cut, pipes are fitted; it is about what you’d expect, or is it? Being there tells a different story, as Schenectady Daily Gazette Reporter Haley Viccaro found out after she went through some basic underground training and joined some of our underground electric and gas crew members at a large casino construction project in Schenectady, NY. You can read her story here. It explains the challenges of installing new electric facilities in tight, enclosed spaces and some of the conditions our crews encounter on a regular basis.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy

This project includes the new Rivers Casino, hotels, residential facilities and more in an area that had no existing underground infrastructure. Completed in February of 2017, National Grid crews installed about 16,000 feet of underground electric cable and 1,500 feet of new, six-inch gas main through 40 new manholes.

In addition to the operations work, National Grid’s Economic Development team awarded the project about $1 million in various economic development grants to help pay for the new infrastructure.

Having non-operations employees and reporters inside underground electric vaults is not something we do every day, but this project was special. National Grid has contributed funding to support the work (and new, efficient LED lighting) as well as building new infrastructure. The project includes a little bit of everything we do well at National Grid so in addition to reporters we invited a video team into the underground vaults and had them talk to the Mayor of Schenectady, developers and National Grid leadership about what the project means to the region. Check it out!

Find more Investing in Upstate New York stories here.

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