What Are Mobile Substations Used For?

a large storm with a hurricane

What is a mobile substation? You might have seen one attached to a semi-truck and wondered what the powerful apparatus does. A mobile substation is part of the system that generates and transmits electricity in your community. It is designed to be used as a backup when needed most. Here are some examples of when and how the mobile substation market provides solutions for our communities.

Emergencies and Unpredictable Weather

When thinking of a power outage, most people will probably recall a storm in which the lights flickered on and off for a bit and then all the power in the house went out. In some cases, power could be scarce for anywhere from a few hours to days. A study by Climate Central found that weather caused 80 percent of all outages between 2003 and 2012. The unexpected nature of natural disasters makes them particularly worrisome.

No community can afford to have its electrical power down for a significant period of time.

Mobile substations are used to quickly restore electrical service during an outage caused by a powerful storm, a hurricane, a tornado, or a non-weather emergency.

Companies like Southern States fill this need by providing solutions and equipment to support the grid during such emergencies or the occasional planned outage. The mobile substation is composed of a transformer, cooling equipment, high and low voltage circuit protection, metering, relaying, AC and DC auxiliary power supplies, and surge protection.

The mobile station is naturally designed for movement. Southern State offers substations for mobile applications to make energy more reliable in any area in North America.

The word substation comes from the days before the distribution system became a grid, Southern States says. As central generation stations became larger, smaller generating plants were converted to distribution stations. They receive their energy supply from a larger plant instead of using their own generators. The mobile ones supplied by Southern States have the added ability to be used wherever needed.


Sometimes a power company will intentionally shut down the main source of power. This can be done for routine maintenance of equipment or construction work. With a well-operating mobile substation or stations, the loss of electricity will not be noticed for a very short duration.

It is the mobility of the mobile substation that allows it to basically fill in as a substitute—much like a temporary teacher fills in when the regular one is sick or needs to be out of the classroom for any other reason.

Supplying Electricity When Scarce

Well, we certainly don’t live in a perfect world and the gaps in service or availability do happen. During the coronavirus pandemic, parts of California have experienced blackouts from heatwaves. When so many air conditioning and other appliances use electricity at the same time, scarcity is sure to happen.

Grid operators have to consider various options to prevent outages when supply is short. In fact, the US Congress has passed legislation calling for the strategic buildup of emergency mobile stations, knowing that the threats of cyberattacks, terrorist bombings, and out-of-control wildfires are all very real.

Mobile substations are a useful solution to both unforeseeable and anticipated issues with electricity.

When an emergency strikes or when maintenance needs to be performed on the area’s main source of power, mobile transformers from professionals like Southern States can give you some peace of mind. When the unthinkable happens, you’ll have access to electricity with the flip of a switch.

Life is unpredictable, and you should always have a “backup” in any situation. For possible outages, mobile substations are the ultimate backups for your business or residence.