The Importance of Voltage Regulators
A voltage regulator is like the cruise control in a car for
electric utilities; it is an electronic device that
automatically maintains a consistent voltage level. Regulators
raise and lower the voltage to a desired level. When voltage
regulators stop working, the voltage can reach levels that cause
equipment damage and safety hazards.
Voltage regulators are workhorses that operate 1000's of
times a year to maintain voltage.
Because of their importance, electric utilities should inspect
regulators monthly. Continuous inspection and scheduled
maintenance are critical.
Inspectors should check the voltage regulator's overall
condition, document any deficiencies, document the high and low
drag hands positions, and document the operation counter.
A good program will assess deficiencies for their risk to the
system and instantly analyze drag hand positions and operation
counters. In addition, a good program will watch for alarm
points and disturbing trends.
Track and trend your operation counters — don't just write
Each time a voltage regulator operates, copper contacts slide
across each other, changing the winding ratio and raising and
lowering voltage as required. As these contacts slide over time,
they can rut, pit, and contaminate, building resistance. This
resistance will lead to heat, failure, and possible explosion.
Typically, regulators and LTC's can operate 100,000 times or 10
years before needing maintenance. Track and trend your operation
counts to ensure everyone goes home safe, extend equipment
lifespan, and reduce maintenance expenses.
Track and trend your drag hands — don't just write them
A voltage regulator can raise or lower voltage up to 10%. The
drag hands let you know high and how your system voltage varies
over time. Tracking voltage levels throughout the system gives
you peace of mind that you deliver a good product.
In addition, voltage regulator drag hands identify overloaded
feeders and allow for proper capacitor placement. Finally, you
can better allocate and save on capital and maintenance budgets.
Overall Condition — Inspect with a purpose
Looking for and
documenting deficiencies is critical to great inspection
software. But if you want your inspection program to be effective, you
should assess the risk of each defect.
Risk assessment of a deficiency considers both the
chance of failure and the consequence of failure.
A "Find, Assess, and Fix" inspection program will continuously
improve the electrical system.
If you have an "inspect and forget" inspection program, it is
time to turn to PZM's Inspection Software.
PZM instantly tracks and trends all drag hands and operation
counters on voltage regulators and all other critical equipment
in the substation. PZM uses Protection Zones and Risk Matrixes
to perform a risk assessment on all deficiencies.