For businesses, power grid operators and utility companies, ensuring overall safety and reliability of HV equipment installed on site are essential. Investment for improvements and repairs can be costly to any business but is avoidable, provided the correct precautions are in place. Mark Oxtoby, Operations and Projects Director of Power Distribution Specialists explores the importance of HV equipment maintenance from an aspect of safety, cost saving and business reputation.

Effective management and maintenance of high voltage systems create safe operating conditions and enables a business to continue meeting its performance targets. Besides generating unsafe situations, any disruption or outages to your HV equipment can pose a legitimate threat to the overall success of your business. Furthermore, as set out in The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, a safe electrical system is a legal requirement for companies.

At Power Distribution Specialists we ensure your business equipment is operated and maintained by engineers competent to do so. As well as being a legal responsibility for business owners there is also the bigger questions that need to be considered. For example, what resilience do you have should your equipment fail? Will your equipment act as expected within a fault scenario if it hasn’t been tested?

The implications and financial challenges that could occur from losing your HV supply can directly impact your business, your employees, supply chain and associated customers. For a comparatively low cost, we can help you better understand your equipment. Compare this investment into PDS to the potential expense you may incur for replacing your equipment should a failure occur makes it a clear and affordable choice. A typical four-year preventative maintenance regime will help us to record and monitor the status of equipment ensuring we are capable of identifying any potential failures prior to their costly conclusion. At PDS, we ensure that companies comply with the relevant regulations and end-user specifications to maintain high levels of efficiency and safety.

Businesses that display innovation, create tested and reliable solutions through integrated management solutions will be the ones that emerge as industry leaders. The business with the right level of technical expertise and professionalism to support industrial activities will ensure you maintain your position against rising challenges and other competition facing businesses today.

Maintenance and the (potential) cost to a business

Any business professional responsible for HV equipment should be well aware of the possible consequences if the equipment was to fail. It is the legal responsibility of the business owner to ensure equipment is maintained and meets the required standards. The potential impact on overall production and financial performance could be catastrophic. A recent study delivered by Western Power Distribution and ABB explains how the failure of bushings, a vital part of transformer components can result in fire and other damages. The study claims high-voltage bushings contribute to over 30% of all fires and explosions related to transformer faults.

According to leading global insurance provider FM Global, their power generation clients have experienced transformer faults at a collective value of approximately $1.3 billion, based on approximately 550 transformer failures. FM Global investigated bushing failure and the correlation between component age and failure. FM Global reported that one operator experienced component failure after five years, resulting in damages exceeding $15 million. In contrast, the insurance provider reported that another client had experienced one failure after 60 years, resulting in minimal financial damage. Irrespective of the cost, FM Global believes the potential price of failure is just too high to ignore. There is huge value in businesses making their systems more resilient and less exposed to potential dangers.

The Benefits to a business when investing in maintenance care

Cost savings are always a constant factor for a business. With the correct procedures in place, a business can improve the overall lifespan of their equipment and maintain its value. This creates an efficient operational environment and fewer repair costs, reducing overall costs for a business.

Reducing operating costs should be considered a top priority for your business, taking into account the cost of replacing, repairing and potential expense of lost productivity. All of these factors can have a profound impact on the success of your business and if you are operating in a business environment with a fleet of equipment, the problems can quickly spiral.

There are multiple reasons for prioritising the maintenance of HV equipment. Safety, of course, is paramount to business but there are additional cost savings which make electrical maintenance so important. Quite simply, the dangers and potential damage to your business arising from a lack of effective electrical maintenance are simply not worth ignoring.