Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital has been in the process of updating its power grid with the help of local electrical contractor “Joe” Dickey Electric.
The project began in January 2020 with the goal of modernizing the emergency power system to ensure power continues to flow to crucial life-saving equipment in the event of an outage. The need for this update became all the more crucial as main campus’s ICU reached capacity last year during the COVID crisis.
For Dickey Electric project manager DJ Partin, after 24 years in the industry, this project was particularly meaningful.
“St. Elizabeth Hospital has been serving the Youngstown area for many decades, and upgrading the emergency power system in an existing hospital of this size is a very delicate and complex project full of unique challenges,” he said. “This project is something I am very proud to be a part of and I’m so proud of my entire team. From our foremen and electricians in the field to our entire office staff, I really am surrounded by some of the best and brightest people in the electrical industry today.”
3 New, Larger Generators Replace 8 Aging Ones
St. Elizabeth’s existing power system is tested regularly and fully capable of supplying adequate emergency power, however the aging system consists of eight generators spread out across the increasingly sprawling campus.
The new system will accomplish two main objectives: increasing the system’s overall capacity and combining all power sources into one main backup power system. The eight scattered generators have been replaced with three large generators. Two of the large generators are capable of handling the entire existing hospital supply and the third allows for future expansion.
In addition to the three new diesel generators at the main campus, Dickey Electric has installed a fourth generator at the hospital’s “chiller plant.” This provides emergency backup power to the three chillers that provide cooling in the summer months.
Power Outages Can Now Be Managed Remotely
Improvements have also been made to St. Elizabeth’s 23KV substation with the addition of state-of-the-art automated source transfer equipment. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, keeping the power on at all times is crucial to St. Elizabeth and now the updated system makes this possible without delay, interruption or a need for manpower.
“What used to take up to two hours for a manual power switch during an outage, now is done automatically and takes less than five seconds.” Partin said.
After a massive underground vault installation and miles and miles of underground conduit, the substation upgrade has been complete. All four generators are installed and operational as well as the many pieces of corresponding electrical gear inside the hospital.
Dickey Electric is now in the final phase of this project as they install transfer switches throughout the hospital. Power in a hospital is crucial and with the system upgrades provided by Dickey Electric, St. Elizabeth Youngstown will be keeping the lights on for generations to come.
Dickey Electric is a member contractor of NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association of IBEW union locals in Youngstown and Warren and signatory electrical contractors in the Mahoning Valley.