On this episode of Yinzer Backstage Pass, I discovered how Duquesne Light Co. moves electricity around Pittsburgh.
When we started planning this shoot with the folks at Duquesne Light, they sent a list of the gear that I needed in order to film inside one of their substations:
• 4 cal/cm2 FR jumpsuit
• Class E hard hat
• ANSI Z87.1-approved safety glasses
• EH-rated safety boots
I’m not embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have any of these articles in my closet at home (though I did get to wear a Kennywood hard hat a few months back). Fortunately, Duquesne Light generously offered to loan us all the requisite gear.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and Annie and I were suiting up in khaki jumpsuits, boots, hard hats and glasses — and looking like off-brand Ghostbusters.
After going over a safety protocol, we were led into the substation by Michelle Antantis, a senior consulting engineer with Duquesne Light, who explained how the equipment helps move electricity through Oakland. I’ll be honest — understanding how thousands of amps of electricity move through this facility boggles my mind. I’m so glad that there are smart people like Michelle whose impressive expertise keeps all the electronics in my house running smoothly.
We stepped outside and Richard Saporito, an advanced grid specialist, showed us around the transformer and explained why the company believes it needed one more in Oakland. He also pointed out some of the architectural features on the exterior of the substation building.
Finally, we chatted with Don Kunc, a senior manager of distribution operations with Duquesne Light, who’s responsible for getting power back on when there’s an outage in the system.
I was feeling electric after learning about how substations work though — I’ll admit — I was a little sad to take off that jumpsuit.
If you want more Yinzer Backstage Pass, check out last week’s episode — we visited the underground Big Bone Room at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.