Elizabethton electrical substation
Elizabethton electrical substation
Elizabethton substation

City of Elizabethton, TN

Fiber Optic Connections

McGill provided electrical engineering design, bidding, and construction phase services for the installation of fiber optic cables in a few capacities over several projects for the City of Elizabethton. The Elizabethton Electric Department needed to be connected to City Hall after various City departmental rearrangements.

The fiber connection between City Hall and the Elizabethton Electric Department was the first segment designed and built. McGill installed all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) fiber in the power space above the neutral conductor along the existing transmission and distribution lines between the two locations on Hatcher Lane. This fiber allowed the City to have a fast and reliable connection to the billing systems and accounting processing associated with the Elizabethton Electric Department.

Other fiber projects we completed in Elizabethton helped link several of its critical substations together, including Hatcher Lane to Hampton via OPGW (optical ground wire) which was installed on a new transmission line designed by McGill; Hatcher Lane to Primary to District; from District to West Elizabethton to Milligan College Substation. Our team also linked the following substations: Hatcher Lane Substation to Watauga Industrial and then, to Winner Substation. McGill installed all of these linkages utilizing existing transmission and distribution poles with ADSS fiber in the power space.


The Challenge

This was the City’s first project with fiber installation on its system and pole lines that it was responsible for maintaining. For instance, if a pole was damaged due to a car accident or a tree falling on the line, the Elizabethton Electric crews would be responsible for repairing and getting the fiber back into operation.

Our Solution

McGill worked with vendors and trained the City so that its crew would be comfortable installing and servicing (splicing) the fiber optic networks on its systems. This gave the City the confidence to expand its network to other substations and use its own crews to install the fiber instead of bidding the work out to communication company crews.

The Results

Through completing these various fiber projects, the City gained confidence in sustaining a reliable fiber network for its administration services along with the networked SCADA system to various substations located throughout its system. The fiber to those substations provides ultra-fast and reliable connections for the City to manage and operate a majority of its critical substations from its office located on Hatcher Lane. The staff can closely monitor substation loads and adjust regulators or transformers to lower demand, which saves the Elizabethton citizens money on their electric bills. The City can also respond to outages quicker with alerts to get the power back on as quickly and safely as possible.

It was exciting to work on this project with the City of Elizabethton to establish reliable internal communications/SCADA system for their Electric Department to provide its customers with a local reliable power system.

  • Nick Huffman, PE
    Electrical Practice Area Lead, McGill


Fiber Optic Installation

Fiber cabinet installation during construction.

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New Technology

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Project Services Included:

  • Electrical design
  • Bidding
  • Construction administration
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