Trends in Electrical Reliability with Alan Ross
It is my pleasure to welcome Alan Ross to the podcast, currently president of EPRA, the chair of the Tripoli smart grid marketing committee, as well as the editor in chief of transformer technology and women in power systems.
In this episode we covered:
- What’s happening in electrical reliability?
- What are people doing now that they weren’t doing even five years ago?
- Are you seeing data being used well on the electrical side?
What’s happening in electrical reliability?
It’s amazing what will happen when passion and people come together to fix something, to do something that leaves it better than we found it. And my gift is corralling people to do that. It’s not that it’s unreliable to a point at times, but because the time between failure and the life of a lot of these components is so big, it’s out of sight out of mind. It was reliable before. When you start putting robotic machines in conveyors and robots that weld and things that move products around, the whole thing changes on that side, thus having an impact on the electrical system.
What are people doing now that they weren’t doing even five years ago?
What they’re doing now and what they’ve done is tests because the insurance companies say they must test breakers. If you follow an FPA, NEC and some of the standards organizations, you’re going to test your breakers every two to six years, depending upon who you’re following and what industry you’re in. People are confusing the testing with the actual maintenance, but I think it’s people are now becoming aware. They’re able to get it approved. People have also effected the life cycle of the budget.
Are you seeing data being used well on the electrical side?
Most people don’t know what to do with the data, so they need data scientists to help them. But interestingly enough, their way of monitoring is inside the transformer. But somebody’s going to come along and put a nine gas monitor on that transformer. They’re going to get more data. You better know what to do with the data. You can’t solve a systemic problem by buying a piece of equipment or buying a monitor. You need to step back, have insight, look at it, come down and understand it, and use wisdom to make these decisions. The next generation of cables comes with their own monitoring systems in them.
If you had an opportunity to drive change in an organization, would you recommend they start looking at that data, the monitoring, the testing, or should they just go back to the old recommended maintenance practices?
Our standard for safety and electrical reliability from APPRA points to the NFLPA standards as the easiest thing to do first and to do right. Once you’ve done that, now let’s start looking at life cycles, look at the overall system and do a great criticality analysis. So we take the one line and we say, what are you doing at each part of that web line?
Have you seen any help improving electrical reliability in any way or has it kind of done its own little standalone thing for safety over here, but not really helped with reliability in the assets?
I don’t think it’s really gotten in the reliability world. I think it has made an impact and FPA 70 E I think they announced some things. The only way to do anything is to put it safely to test, or not open it up or de-energize it. If you can’t de-energize it, what’s the next step? From a safety perspective, what we’re trying to do is to not ask how do you do reliable testing, but how is it part of the whole reliability system? Drive electrical reliability, but enable people to do that safely as well.
Alan Ross Links:
- Alan Ross LinkedIn
- IEEE PES Grid Edge
- Women in Power Systems
- NFPA 70B Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance
- NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
- EPRA Summit
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Lee Megois says
Well done Alan, keeping reliability concerns at the front end is critical. Online Monitoring is the future, however having someone interpret that data before the problem shuts you down is more important.