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Upgrading transmission insulators to improve reliability

September 1 2016, 07:47 AM

Upgrading transmission insulators to improve reliability

As part of NB Power’s plan to continuously improve reliability for our customers, we are currently upgrading 1650 porcelain insulators on our transmission system.

Insulators are used on transmission and distributions systems to separate the electrically charged part of the equipment from an uncharged part of the infrastructure.

Without insulators to keep the current flowing where it supposed to be (in the conductor), infrastructure and the ground would become energized leaving the public and our employees at a great risk.

The insulators installed in areas along the coast and near industrial sites, are about 15 years old, with a life expectancy of 60 years. However, a  variety of  environmental factors have been determined to cause the porcelain insulators to overheat and crack, which has been the cause of a number of power outages in the southern part of the province recently. 

“This work will most certainly improve reliability in the area,” said Darren Baxter, Project Lead. “These new insulators have a proven track record with 20 years of successful installations.”

The new insulators are made of glass and have a special coating designed to withstand greater exposure to the elements than the existing porcelain insulators.

“We are confident this insulator replacement project will help to significantly reduce the frequency of transmission –related power interruptions,” said Baxter. “Our crews are specially trained to ensure the new insulators are installed in the most efficient manner, to ensure top service for our customer.”

So far NB Power crews have replaced approximately 600 porcelain insulators, primarily in the Courtney Bay area. NB Power expects to have the remaining 1050 insulators replaced by spring 2017.

 

 

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