Aging power delivery infrastructures by Willis, H. Lee; Schrieber, Randall R

By Willis, H. Lee; Schrieber, Randall R

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Regardless, making changes and additions to 38 Chapter 1 its operating processes and methods and perhaps the power delivery system, too, a utility can control condition deterioration and impacts on customer and system performance so that it can get the best business results possible. Manage Both Effects and Causes Managing an aging infrastructure is about both reducing the effects of aging equipment as much as possible (if you can’t control the disease, control the symptoms) and controlling the deterioration of the system as much as possible (but keep the disease under control as much as you can).

As will be discussed in Chapter 8, in aging areas of these systems, which suffered from “obsolete system layout,” utilization rates often averaged close to 100% under “normal” peak conditions. Whenever a power delivery utility increased its planned equipment utilization rates, changes were carefully engineered into the system, so that it could fully meet the N–1 criteria everywhere, and even attain N–2 capability in critical places. This despite the greatly reduced contingency margin levels now available: there were feasible ways to back up any and all failures, despite the higher utilization rates.

A certain amount of this increase is by design, and does not necessarily have a negative impact. Since the mid 1980s, equipment utilization ratios (the ratio of peak loading to equipment capability) has risen through the power industry as electric distribution utilities sought to increase efficiency of equipment usage and cut back on expenses. It was not uncommon to see an electric distribution utility raise its target utilization ratio for transformers from 66%, about typical for the mid-1970s, to 70 – 83% during the last 15 years of the 20th century.

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