US power outages have doubled over the last 20 years, according to The Guardian. It’s not just tropical storms and hurricanes doing all of the damage, either. Winter storms are increasingly harmful to the power grid, which can be extremely dangerous in certain parts of the country.
If you’re in charge of a municipality’s electricity, you need to know how to protect your substation from inclement weather. In colder areas, winter prep is key to ensuring that you don’t have any major outages or damaged equipment due to freezing temperatures.
In this post, we’re going to tell you 6 ways utility providers can prepare for winter. A little bit of work now can save you huge headaches down the road, so keep reading and prepare your substation for the worst cold weather.
1. Clear the Substation of Debris
Before winter hits, it’s crucial to clear up your substation of any debris, such as leaves, dirt, and bird droppings. If these things are left to accumulate and snow and ice start to hit, you’re putting your switches and breakers at risk of malfunction.
While you’re at it, clean off all of your radar domes and lights, and replace all of the covers and backup covers. When you’re done, take pictures of everything so that you can see what needs maintenance after winter is over.
2. Inspect Your Cables
One of the main reasons for power outages is the toll that ice and snow take on your power cables. Inspect each power cable for damage and replace any that show signs of damage, as well as the ones that are near water. Preventative cable maintenance before winter should give you the best chance of avoiding major outages or costly repairs.
3. Corrosion Checks
Check all of your metal surfaces and components for corrosion. Metal is more likely to break down in extreme weather when it’s already showing signs of doing so. If you see any cracks or holes in the paint, make sure to cover them up now rather than later.
4. Asset Monitoring System
A state-of-the-art asset monitoring system will help you detect any potential issues before they become real problems. Most of the programs now come with machine learning algorithms and AI-based analytics that allow for early detection.
Being able to correct issues early on in the process is key to preventing outages. Implement asset monitoring and learn the ins and outs now before the winter weather comes.
5. Install Shields on Exposed Equipment
Make sure all of the shields for the switches are securely installed. If there is any rust on the shield components, make sure to replace them ASAP.
Should a shield come unhinged after a winter storm, your switches are going to be completely exposed. Once that happens, damage or an outage is only a matter of time.
6. Check Heating System
If your heating system isn’t working properly, those freezing temps can potentially cause equipment failure. Maintaining the best possible environment for your substation buildings is going to be key to getting through the winter.
A functioning heating system will prevent electrical devices from freezing, but they’ll also help you avoid condensation, or worse, capacitors from exploding.
Make Sure Your Substation Is Ready
Now that you know how to prep a substation for winter, you can start tackling each task now. The sooner you start preparing, the more protected your substation will be, so your service will never be in jeopardy.