Behind every Alabama Power transformer, one of the company’s lesser-known teams tests, fabricates and refurbishes the equipment.
The Alabama Power General Shops team performs essential work to extend the life of transformer equipment, return it to service and restore service to Alabama Power customers.
“We see ourselves as an in-house service company to all of Power Delivery,” said Roger Hall, Alabama Power General Shops manager.
The shops are comprised of three groups: the steel shop (welding and fabricating services), the electrical shop (rubber glove testing, hot sticks lab and substation grounding services), and the transformer shop, which Hall describes as the “lifeblood” of the substations.
“This team performs very unique services that allow us to safely and quickly restore equipment to service, and therefore restore service to our customers, rather than having to rely on external contractors,” said Yvonne Essix, Power Delivery Shared Services general manager – Alabama Power. “They have a critical role in our company and serve as in-house subject matter experts that we can lean on to quickly and efficiently get the lights back on.”
Recently, the General Shops delivered in a big way when Sonat Energy Services, one of Alabama Power’s major industrial partners, experienced significant issues with one of its large transformers.
Due to ongoing global supply chain challenges, the lead time for replacing the transformer was 18 to 24 months, which would have severely disrupted Sonat’s operations.
Sonat reached out to the General Shops for help.
“We were able to offer an existing transformer that we were otherwise going to scrap,” Hall said. “Our team worked around the clock and dedicated their resources to take everything apart, refurbish, rewire and repaint it. We were able to sell and deliver it to Sonat to ensure they could stay in production.”
Essix added that it was unclear what Sonat would have done had Alabama Power not been able to provide this resource, describing it as a “hero of the day moment.”
“Because of us, Sonat basically saw no downtime in operations,” she said. “The General Shops come through when you need them. When things are in the ditch, they can pretty much get you out of it.”
Essix describes the General Shops team as “a hidden gem or a diamond,” adding that their work goes to the heart of what the Power Delivery organization does.
“They are definitely service-oriented and pride themselves on providing not just excellent customer service, but distinguished service,” said Essix. “They’re always willing to go above and beyond and do whatever it takes to ensure our customers have an excellent experience.”