August 2023

O’Connell was selected to receive the prestigious Project Excellence Award from the National Electrical Contractors Association for its fifth award.

To comply with more stringent reliability standards issued at the federal level, O’Connell Electric was hired as the prime contractor for a large expansion project for the existing Big Tree Substation in Orchard Park, NY The scope included reconfiguring the station’s existing 115kV transmission lines and additional minor reroutes of medium voltage distribution lines as well. The upgraded and expanded facilities are intended meet the growing demand for additional power in the Buffalo region, including the new Buffalo Bills Stadium slated to start construction in 2023.

Big Tree Substation serves nearly 4,000 customers in the region. This project helps ensure the utility company can continue to deliver safe and reliable electric service for years to come.

Work included expanding four acres of the existing substation. Crews rebuilt the existing station as a three-bay breaker and a half arrangement connecting to National Grid Line 151. Scope also included installation of storm water management features, establishing a temporary lay down/staging area and marshaling yard, temporary access to the site from the north, modifica-tion and relocation of seven existing 115 kV and 34.5 kV poles and electric lines in the vicinity of the new expansion.

O’Connell self-performed the installation of the following:




For 2023, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) named 17 winning projects from across the United States as winners of the prestigious Project Excellence Awards. This year saw a record-breaking number of PEA applications with well over 100 impressive project submissions. The Project Excellence Awards program also saw its first international win in 2023, expanding the global reach and awareness of NECA.

The Project Excellence Awards (PEA) recognize electrical contractors who have performed industry-leading, exceptional work during the previous calendar year. Commitment, professionalism, and ingenuity are cornerstones of the value NECA contractors provide their customers, and PEA showcases these qualities on a national scale.

The competition considers 13 categories based on the type of project and its dollar value. Criteria in judgment include aesthetics, application, difficulty, innovation, and originality.