Are You Prepared for What Your Technology is Telling You?
The electric grid is made up of sophisticated and complex technology. There are hundreds of thousands of parts and components that work in concert with one another to ensure the reliable, safe delivery of electric power. When something fails, it has the potential to cause widespread damage and outages that can be costly and in some extreme cases, even deadly.
Reap the full benefits of monitoring technology
To combat the potential of a catastrophic failure, utilities often invest in monitoring technologies that survey equipment performance across the grid and alert engineers to anomalies. When installed and executed properly, this technology will raise a red flag and allow engineers to successfully address a problem before it impacts performance and delivery.
The advantage of monitoring technology is it may build on decades of testing and analysis data to provide tools, techniques and services to identify signs of potential failures. Comprehensive services also offer a dedicated engineering expert to consult with on testing procedures, test data analysis, apparatus maintenance and more. This information is invaluable to engineers in the field who oversee thousands of pieces of equipment. It is impossible to manually test components regularly and simply waiting for them to fail is not an option.
Implement a comprehensive response plan to support your monitoring solution
However, even the best tool is only as good as the action that results from the guidance it provides. The best fire alarm system in the world is of little value if there is no action taken when the alarm sounds. Asset monitoring is not a ‘set and forget’ activity. It requires you to continuously plan and revamp reaction strategies – assessing and monitoring the monitoring. Responding to a warning too slowly, or ignoring it altogether can turn a simple maintenance issue into a significantly more expensive problem.
Let’s take bushings as an example. They are a necessary and vital element of the electric supply system – allowing critical equipment such as breakers and transformers to operate efficiently. Any alert that a bushing is malfunctioning needs an immediate response.
Reactions to alerts need to be automatic and second nature to be effective. If your home security system were triggered, you wouldn’t ignore it. An appropriate and logical response would be to call the police. If the warning light went off in your car, you would take it to the garage in a timely manner to avoid potential damage. These reactions are ingrained in us and engineers must learn to react in the same way to alerts about critical grid infrastructure.
An alert that goes unheeded is not a technology problem, but rather an issue of execution. The time to prepare for a flood is not when the waters are rising around you, but when you are standing on dry land. This is why it’s crucial to formulate a response plan when the monitoring technology is being installed.
The grid is only growing more complex. The potential for failure and subsequent extensive outages is on the rise. Having monitoring technology in place is the correct first step. Now, what’s critical is ensuring that your team of engineers knows what to do when the alarms go off.
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