Duquesne Light Company Unveils New Substation in Oakland



February 9, 2022

In December, Duquesne Light Company (DLC) officially unveiled its latest substation as the company continues investing in critical infrastructure to improve service reliability and resiliency. Located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, the Riazzi Substation — named after retired DLC President and CEO Rich Riazzi — will help support the growing demand for electricity in the flourishing community, including its high-tech health care and research facilities and world-renowned universities.

The 138 kV-23 kV substation is in Oakland’s Panther Hollow area and services customers in Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Greenfield, Hazelwood and Point Breeze. Its design incorporates gas-insulated switchgear; five 23 kV sub-transmission circuits; and safety features such as site lighting, an anti-scale perimeter fence, thermal imaging security cameras, fire protection and hillside-stabilizing retaining walls.

“We always strive to maintain the quality service our customers expect while also expanding our infrastructure and investing in innovation to become a utility of the future,” said President and CEO Kevin Walker.

“The Riazzi Substation represents our larger commitment to helping the Pittsburgh region grow as an innovation hub. More importantly, it’s an investment in the Oakland community and those who live, work and study there.”

The substation was a joint effort between DLC; PWWG Architects, the architect of the building’s façade; and Burns & McDonnell, the project designer and contractor. With the help of PWWG, DLC engaged the public on their design preference for the façade. Based on feedback gathered at in-person meetings and online, the community overwhelmingly chose the concept that gives the illusion that the building is moving.

“This achievement is the direct result of the outstanding teamwork, determination and resilience of everyone involved,” said Peter Francis, a senior project manager at DLC who oversaw the effort. “Delivering a project of this scale, which safely provides high-quality electric service to such a significant area in the city of Pittsburgh, is something everyone at DLC and our partners should be proud of.”

Earlier this month, the substation was named the 2021 Energy Project of the Year by the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania. The award will be presented at the organization’s annual banquet on Thursday, March 10, at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

“This substation is a state-of-the-art facility that will enable the Oakland area to continue expanding,” added Walker. “I think everyone will be pleased with what it can do functionally and for the growth of that community.”

Learn more about the substation in this video from the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony.