In the USA, many different natural disasters have occurred over the past few years. This has highlighted the importance of ensuring that infrastructure is safe and reliable should the worst happen. If important facilities, such as hospitals or government institutions, have power disruptions, this could result in a breach of national security and disruption to public health, safety, and security. It is, therefore, crucial to regularly assess your distribution lines for reliability and how they react to environmental stressors.
Substation equipment has to meet certain criteria and should be able to withstand wet conditions. However, it should never be submerged and must be protected from flooding water with the use of barriers. Higher voltage switches are normally located at least 10 feet from the ground so that they can allow switch operation if the substation is energized. Equipment such as transformers, metering and breakers are vulnerable to flood damage and it is, therefore, prudent to have substations that can withstand severe weather events and be repaired rapidly. The addition of more switching points and auto-restoration is also a good idea in vulnerable areas.
Distribution Lines Planning
A good and cohesive emergency response plan which has been drawn up with the help of local organizations and government institutions should be carried out. Obviously, any changes to infrastructure should be considered with cost in mind. It is also necessary to think twice if certain areas usually experience little or no damage from storms. The repositioning of equipment to an area where they will be more able to withstand the damaging effects of a severe weather event is another consideration. If you replace poles and distribution lines, try and utilize ones that are larger in diameter as these would have much better resistance to wind. The relocation of equipment underground is also another consideration that is well worthwhile.