Project Profile: Transmission Line Inspection

Customer: Medium Sized Public Utility


Challenges:

1.     To ensure their transmission infrastructure was adequately inspected without tying up qualified linemen for the task.

2.     To comply with New York State’s stray voltage testing program.

3.     To maintain accurate and up-to-date inspection data for the entire transmission system.

4.     To provide reports on conditions for the NY Public Service Commission.

5.     To track repair status of conditions found throughout the system.


Wagner Technical Services Solution:

Wagner Technical was hired to deploy inspectors to perform inspections and stray voltage testing on a five year cycle. Using our NextGrid Infrastructure software and experienced Field Technicians we provided the personnel and tools required to effectively meet the needs of the customer.

The Company:

In the past, this company relied solely on its own personnel to perform visual inspections of their transmission infrastructure based on an erratic schedule that coincided more with current problems and imminent outages than with preventative maintenance and comprehensive inspections. The expense of deploying linemen, whose skills were required elsewhere, prevented them from performing complete and detailed inspections of the entire system. In addition, the New York State requirement to perform stray voltage testing on transmission facilities required a formal plan to test the entire system for potentially dangerous errant voltage every five years.  As an added challenge, the company’s inspection data was gathered and stored using third party software based on 1980’s database technology. Over the years the instability, unreliability, and inflexibility of this software led to inaccuracies, loss of inspection data, and hampered repair status tracking efforts. 

People and Technology:

By turning to Wagner Technical Services, the company drew on over 25 years of combined experience in transmission line construction and inspection. Wagner Technical worked with the Transmission Department to develop a schedule and process for performing visual ground based inspections of every type of transmission structure in the system. This included the use of varied pieces of test equipment including ground resistance meters, resistographs, and a pioneering effort to gather GPS info for all structures in the system. One problem remained.  While the physical inspections were a success, the easy consolidation and analysis of the data Wagner Technical gathered was an ongoing difficulty. The use of the outdated third party software package that was not network aware, or able to be updated in real time, led to delays in information access for the company. Wagner Technical responded to this by developing NextGrid Infrastructure. This new software allowed data entered in the field to become almost immediately accessible to the Transmission Department and consolidated many disparate pieces of information including GPS information, inspection data, and structure photography. NextGrid’s online interface is available to the customer at all times. Using state-of-the-art tablet computers, Wagner Technical’s field inspectors are able to gather data and sync it daily, ensuring that repair tracking and defect information are always up to date. 

Results:

Wagner Technical has provided the personnel and technology required to meet the challenges the company faced when implementing a cost effective inspection program for their transmission system. They are now able to focus on implementing their maintenance and repair program rather than spending time searching for and consolidating data.  NextGrid Infrastructure makes it possible to view up-to-date inspection data whenever needed and provides several tools that enable quick and easy preparation of reports for the NY State Public Service Commission, as well as internal reporting for repair status and defect tracking.