The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 19, 2012

Empire District Electric Co. replaces transformers damaged during 2011 tornado

Effort is one of final steps in infrastructure restoration

Two transformers, each weighing 126,000 pounds and costing $500,000, were installed by The Empire District Electric Co. Tuesday at its substation at 26th Street and Pearl Avenue.

It’s one of the final steps in completing the Joplin-based utility’s electric infrastructure restoration after the May 22, 2011, tornado.

The substation was destroyed by the tornado, as were most of the homes and businesses of Empire customers in the area. The  EF-5 tornado was so powerful that it even moved one of the previous transformers — weighing the same as the new one — by about four to six inches, utility officials confirmed.

Cranes and other heavy equipment were needed for the job on Tuesday.

“This is probably the last major component of rebuilding after the tornado,” said Sam McGarrah, Empire’s director of commercial operations.

The destroyed substation is part of the estimated $20 million to $30 million in damages to the utility’s infrastructure caused by the tornado. Six other substations were damaged that evening, 4,000 poles were destroyed, and more than 1,000 transformers were either damaged or destroyed along with 100 miles of electric line.

Around 95 percent of the electric lines have been rebuilt, according to the company.

McGarrah said plans are for the substation to be online by August, to help the utility cope with increased demand.

The transformers convert the 69,000-volt transmission line to 12,000 volts for distribution lines used by residential and business neighborhoods.

The substation will have the same capacity as before.

The site for the substation also has increased, taking in part of the property that belonged to St. Mary’s Catholic Church and school. A temporary Catholic elementary school was set up in less than four months near McAuley High School and the church will be rebuilt near 32nd Street and Central City Road.

Empire officials said the added space will allow better ease of movement for workers and equipment, which also will make it safer, but the project won’t disturb the nearby iron cross, which has become one of the representative symbols of the storm, or the nearby Catholic cemetery.

Increased construction has driven the need to get the substation back online, McGarrah said, with nearly 70 percent of the homes that were destroyed on May 22 either rebuilt or in some phase of construction.

“We’re dedicated to meeting the needs of customers,” he added.

David Boren, senior manager of substation and relay maintenance for Empire, said the destroyed substation is one of 175 substation’s in the utility’s system. The location at 26th Street has been a substation since about 1925, he said.

“This was kind of the heart of the damage area,” Boren said.

He said before rebuilding occurred, the electricity demand wasn’t such that the substation was missed.

“The need is coming back,” Boren added. “This will help us relieve pressure on other substations. All those people need power. This is a milestone for us to get it built back.”

Prepatory phase

The Empire District Electric Co. has not yet filed a rate case to recover costs stemming from the May 22, 2011, tornado with the Missouri Public Service Commission, but it has filed preparatory documents, Empire spokeswoman Julie Maus said Tuesday.

Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter