29 Jul 2015 Electric Power Distribution: Keeping Your Lights On
Electric power distribution is one of the greatest services of the modern world. When power transmission and distribution systems are working well, as it usually does, nobody pays it any attention as they go about their day. In fact, it’s something most of us take for granted.
Causes of Local Outages
If, however, there are failures in the power distribution system, it then becomes very noticeable and we all want to know why. Typically power failures occur at the local level, due to a downed power line or blown transformer. There are rare occasions when the failure occurs at a regional scale.
Local failures are more common because transformers and substations are exposed to the elements and are more vulnerable. If any one of those components fail, you lose power in your home or workplace.
When the power is out, we often don’t know if it’s a local issue or regional. Unless the outage is related to harsh weather, most of us assume the power will be back on pretty quickly. Data supports that, after all, as power outages tend to only last 24 minutes when major storms are removed from the equation.
High Voltage Power Lines
On the other hand, what if some of the giant high voltage power lines were to suddenly stop delivering electricity to the appropriate substations? The strength and development of some Microgrids and Independent System Operators (ISO) have helped to reduce the likelihood of a blackout on the scale we saw in the Northeast in 2003. That said, if a transmission line were to go down, the potential loss of power and the length of time disconnected might be far greater than our typical 24-minute outages and far more widespread than our neighborhoods.
There are about 450,000 miles of high voltage power lines in the United States. With that much at risk from a constant barrage of weather, it truly is a marvel that more issues do not arise. Many thanks are due to the utility companies and maintenance people, who work hard to keep these high voltage lines reliable.
One of the most efficient ways to work on these towers is by way of helicopter. With the sheer number of towers that must be maintained, checked and repaired, airlifting in parts and people to work on these towers becomes necessary in many instances and in less accessible terrain.
Companies like PLH Group’s Air2 perform this helicopter work on high-voltage power lines repairing lines and preventing blackouts, improving reliable delivery to you, the end user.
Electric power distribution is absolutely essential in our day and age. With solid maintenance and continual improvement efforts on both the local and regional elements, we can all continue to enjoy the reliability in our electrical services that we have grown accustomed to.