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Big Bend substation gets two new transformers to power growing industrial area

Image of a transformer being delivered to the Big Bend Substation
One of two transformers is delivered by specialized trailer to the Big Bend substation in south Burnaby. A 30-kilometre trip from a storage yard in Delta was the last segment of a trip that started in Korea, where the transformers were manufactured.

Special trailer took transformers on last part of Korea-to-Burnaby journey

If you happened to be driving near the Big Bend area of Burnaby in the wee hours of the morning this week, you may have noticed something big on the road with you.

Two new transformers arrived at the new Big Bend substation this week, each weighing 58,000 kg (58 tonnes) or the same weight as more than seven African elephants.

You don't just put something like that in the back of a pickup truck; you need a special trailer. And that's big too; the trailer used to carry each transformer is almost 36 metres long.

A one-hour trip travelling 30 kilometres from a storage yard along the Fraser River in Delta took the transformers to their final destination in Burnaby. It was the last step in a long journey for these vital pieces of equipment that began thousands of kilometres away, in Korea.

Barges brought the transformers to Canada earlier this year, and as work on the new substation progressed, it was time to bring them home to the substation.

Image of a new transformer for the Big Bend Substation
The Big Bend substation will supply power to an area of Burnaby expected to grow, in terms of electricity demand, by 20% in the next 10 years.

Transformers play critical role in providing the right voltage to customers

Those big power lines you see connected to large metal towers and wood poles bring electricity from our generating stations, like dams, to the substations in our communities. But it's not ready to power your home or business just yet.

Transformers are the equipment within substations that "step down" electricity into a lower voltage, so that it can be transferred to customers.

Fast-growing area of Burnaby needs new substation to deliver reliable power

Why the new substation for Big Bend, an area named after where the Fraser River makes a nearly 90-degree turn towards New Westminster? Simply put, more demand. While the area along the Fraser River is home to Riverway golf course, it's a large industrial area that will see electrical demand increase by 20% in the next decade.

Right now, the region receives electricity from another substation in Burnaby, located at Kingsway and Griffiths Avenue. With the Big Bend area growing so quickly, we need to build another substation closer to the customers to keep providing clean, reliable power.

Learn more about the Big Bend substation, expected to be in service next spring.