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Why Load Testing Utility Substations Is Important For The Utility Industry

Utility substitution tower

 

The utility industry is changing and forcing utility companies to adapt to wide-ranging trends and a shifting energy landscape. From evolving customer and stakeholder expectations, the rise of renewable energy, and the focus on grid modernization, to aging infrastructure and technology and shifting legislative and regulatory expectations, utility companies need to evolve. As the utility industry transforms, system reliability and providing consistent power to customers is more important than ever.

Electric power is vital to modern-day life, and while the U.S. commercial power system is one of the most complex in the world, it is also the most reliable. Consumers expect consistent power at all times, and it is the utility industry’s job to produce it. Load testing utility substations provides utilities with a surefire way to safeguard against electric service interruptions while also reducing operating and capital expenditures and improving reliability.

 

Safeguard against service interruptions

To fully protect a utility substation from experiencing outages, thorough load bank testing should be conducted during commissioning as well as part of a preventative maintenance plan. An initial load test ensures the utility not only has the capacity to generate the necessary energy, but also identifies potential problems that could affect service before the facility goes live.

Using a load bank to fully energize the system provides an accurate representation of how the utility will operate at full power. This insight proves equipment effectiveness and allows the utility substation to avoid service interruptions. To ensure uninterrupted service continues, load testing utility substations for preventative maintenance provides a regular pulse on the operating ability of the utility and uncovers potential issues before they have a negative effect.

Reduce operating and capital expenditures

When conducting a load test on a utility substation, the electric load can be delivered through the existing power grid or with load banks. Utilizing the grid instead of load banks delivers an unpredictability that leads to longer lead times and additional staff hours. A grid test must be scheduled in advance, making it difficult to align testing with deadlines. Power fluctuations in the grid make it challenging to obtain consistent and controlled readings resulting in multiple tests. With a load bank, testing parameters can be controlled, shortening test time and reducing both labor requirements and associated costs.

Improve reliability

In addition to increasing staff hours, the power fluctuations associated with grid load testing have the potential to deliver inaccurate results. When critical power parameters like voltage, current, and load are not controlled it increases the margin of error. Load banks have the capability to set exact parameters when load testing and can deliver accurate and repeatable results.

The ability to conduct repeatable and accurate load tests will demonstrate a utility substation’s ability to ensure the production of consistent power. Regularly monitoring proper performance levels improves system reliability to ensure customers get what they need.

As the utility industry continues to evolve, load bank testing offers the most effective way to ensure utility substations continue to provide consistent power to customers. ComRent’s team of load bank experts have nearly 30 years of experience in utility substation load testing and are ready to elevate the effectiveness of your facility. Contact us today, for a complimentary consultation.

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