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Protecting Large Electrical Assets at Water Treatment Plants

Protecting Large Electrical Assets at Water Treatment Plants

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Published by SFHelioPower

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Published by: SFHelioPower on Jul 02, 2013
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25767 Jefferson AvenueMurrieta, CA 92562Tel: 951.677.7755Fax: 951.677.9559
201 Harris Avenue, Suite 15Sacramento, CA 95838Tel: 916.564.4442Fax: 916.564.6126
San Francisco
100 Montgomery Street, Suite 1055San Francisco, CA 94104Tel: 415.43 HELIO (415.434.3546)Fax: 415.788.5103
Palm Desert
75178 Gerald Ford Drive, Suite 3APalm Desert, CA 92211Tel: 760.568.5650Fax: 877.279.3900
Protecting Large Electrical Assets at Water Treatment Plants
By Mo RoussoMany large electric power consumers feel secure in owning and maintaining their own high- andmedium-voltage transformers and power-switching equipment. One installed, there is generally littlemaintenance required and the system goes largely unnoticed and essentially forgotten.But there are risks, and the consequences can be severe. Water and wastewater treatment facilitiesare particularly sensitive to unplanned power interruptions that can result in serious damage to thetransformer itself. Without power, these facilities are unable to deliver the services expected of them by the public.Power monitoring can help. Real-time monitoring and alerts of critical power distributionirregularities can provide early notifications of potential failure, indicate where preventativemeasures could be taken and prevent serious damage to the system.
Basic monitoring systems alone quite often aren’t enough.
 We learned that lesson the hard way. Helio Energy Solutions installed basic energy/powermonitoring at a large commercial facility in July of 2009. The basic monitoring system captured theutility meter pulse data and recorded it at 15-minute intervals. Pulse data provides only kWh energyconsumption information (as opposed to all three power phases), and when integrated over time,can provide gross power in kW.In September of 2011, a power system failure of one of two high-voltage power transformersresulted in complete power interruption to the facility and subsequent destruction of transformer.The power transformer was one of two original units installed during original construction 20 yearsearlier. Post failure analysis efforts identified, among other things, the absence of detailedenergy/power monitoring as a potential contributor of the unchecked failure. Pulse data from theutility meter is quite limited and could not provide any foresight into the pending failure of thesystem.As a result of the previous catastrophic failure, power monitoring was identified as a requirement fortransformer re-commissioning. In early 2012, a replacement high-voltage power transformer wasinstalled. Helio Energy Solutions installed advanced monitoring (PredictEnergy
™ Software
) at each of the two power transformers with detailed one-minute sampling and a comprehensive list of datamonitoring parameters. The advanced monitoring is performed by inductive type meters capturing a
Page 2wide range of electrical, energy and power parameters on all three power phases. Theseparameters -- including voltage and current by phase, along with power factor and phase angle --give great insight into the health and function of the transformer when evaluated on an ongoingbasis.
The Risk 
This example of power distribution failure represents a hidden risk known to the many largeelectrical power consumers who own and maintain their own high- and medium-voltagetransformers and power-switching equipment. This type of equipment is often overlooked in the riskmitigation process due to its low- or non-existent maintenance requirements and lack of visibleinteraction with facility personnel and site process.Water and wastewater treatment facilities are particularly sensitive to unplanned power interruptiondue to the continuous need for large power draw and importance of providing their service to thecommunity uninterrupted. Monitoring the output of these large, expensive assets with inductivemeters can mitigate substantial risks by providing notification of the need for preventativemaintenance and insight to pending equipment failure.
Knowledge of Operational Load Parameters is Key
Inductive meters have the capability of providing continuous data monitoring of fundamental powerquality information. Real-time monitoring and alerts of critical transformer operational parametersare
key to protecting these large electrical assets. PredictEnergy’s™
advanced monitoring andanalytics have exceptional accuracy over a wide range of parameters to provide conditionedobservations of these critical electrical components. Most important to observe are: (1) line andphase parameters for comparison, and (2) power-factor and load condition parameters. Here areexamples of each category:
Line voltage, power, energy, and current
Phase level voltage, power, and current
Power Factor
Reactive power
Apparent power
TemperaturesThe combination of the level of data granularity and the capability of the PredictEnergy
softwareanalysis creates a powerful, extendable environment with analytic tools to support electricaldistribution asset management and risk management.
Providing Visibility and Early Warning
Beyond the detailed visibility provided by the inductive meter, a complete set of alarms and alerts
enhances the facility maintenance team’s understanding of the asset’s conditions, especi
ally asrelated to the current energy environment, and in relation to other critical energy components andsources. Alarms identify out-of-tolerance data parameters. The alarm levels and settings arecustomizable by the user allowing filtering of false indications.

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