Cooperative News

Reliability and Value 365: voltage regulator maintenance

The science of saving money and preventing outages

Keeping the lights on isn’t just about springing to action when you lose power; it’s about working every day to ensure you stay powered around the clock. Our Reliability and Value 365 series takes you behind the scenes of how we offer the biggest bang for your buck: strengthening the reliability of our system while putting money back in your pocket.

Distributed throughout our system are more than 400 voltage regulators, equipment that operates around the clock to raise or lower voltage on demand. These vital machines can be expensive, costing the cooperative and our members $5,000 to $30,000 when an issue occurs.

But thanks to our innovative maintenance program, which uses a scientific process called dissolved gas analysis to give our engineers a sneak peek into the regulators’ condition, we’re able to prevent problems before they occur. This saves our members time in the dark, and the cooperative potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Additionally, the program helps our engineers determine the actual lifespan of each regulator, which creates more savings for our members.

“Instead of changing out a perfectly good piece of equipment every five years, we can use it for the full seven, eight, 10 years, making only minor fixes,” explained PEC Technical Services Supervisor Eric Bitzko. “We’re getting a better usage over the course of its lifespan.”

Take a scientific deep dive into dissolved gas analysis in our January 2017 story.