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Trade Article on Insulator Inspection

Michigan Country Lines, January/February 1994

"The insulator inspection and maintenance program has had more immediate impact on service reliability than any other program I have ever adopted," Frank Talentino, Operations Manager.


Two years ago, Cloverland was experiencing a high number of "blinking lights" and "radio interference" complaints. These complaints are more commonly referred to as "nuisance complaints". They are a nuisance to the member and a nuisance to your cooperative because they are hard to locate. In addition to the complaints, Operations Manager Frank Talentino also noticed a significant increase in the number of insulator failures and breaker operations. This, coupled with the difficulty in locating the problems causing breaker operations led Talentino to believe that faulty insulators might be the cause.

Equipped with a Hi-Test detection instrument, Talentino started his "mission" of testing, inspecting and replacing insulators. Now, nearly two years later Talentino confirms that, "Inspections have been completed in five substations and partial inspections and replacements have been made in seven other substation areas." A total of 1,647 miles of distribution line has been inspected and defective insulators replaced.

What have we found? "Cracks, pinholes and a deterioration of the bonding between the pin and the insulator," said Talentino. The majority of the problem was detected in the bonding area of the insulators. "Most defects are non-visible from ground level and the insulators replaced were installed on dead-end structures and the remainder on running corners."

"Cracks, pinholes and a deterioration of the bonding between the pin and the insulation are being found," said Talentino.

Since the insulator inspection and replacement program was implemented, Cloverland has noticed a considerable improvement in service and reduction in operating costs. Some of the actual and anticipated improvements in service costs include:

  1. 1. Reduction in outages caused by defective insulators.
  2. 2. A reduction in radio interference complaints.
  3. 3. A substantial reduction in "blinking light" complaints from membership.
  4. 4. A reduction in the number of damaged, dead-end and running corner structures.
  5. 5. A substantial reduction in the number of breaker operations, thus, eliminating numerous timely and costly trouble complaint calls on the part of the cooperative's staff.
  6. 6. In time, it is anticipated operating costs will be reduced because of a reduction in member complaints, outages and repair to damaged structures.
  7. 7. In time, it is anticipated Cloverland will see a reduction in overall system line loss. Summarized below are annual losses covering the period 1990 through 1993 for distribution, transmission and substation:
  8. Year

    Losses

    1990

    10.42%

    1991

    10.05%

    1992

    9.96%

    1993

    9.64%

Talentino, operations manager for 30 years, and employed by the cooperative for 44 years has implemented many operations and maintenance programs over the years. According to Talentino, the insulator inspection and maintenance program has had more immediate impact on the improvement of service reliability than any other program he has ever adopted in the past. To date we have replaced 1,772 insulators and we have dramatically decreased our number of member complaints.

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