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What Causes Electrical System Failures?

Paul Goodbody | Engineer Manager, IRISS

There are several contributors to electrical system failures:

· Loose connections or parts (30%). This is caused by overloading on any system. The looseness eventually causes tracking and arcing.

· Moisture (17.4%). This is especially a problem in countries and regions with high humidity, such as India and the Philippines.

· Line disturbance other than lightning (10.4%). In some countries, lines run across roads and people climb poles, tapping into them to run their batteries.

· Defective or inadequate insulation (9.9%). This is what we call partial discharge.

· Lightning (8.1%).

· Foreign objects or short circuiting (7.3%).

· Collisions (3.9%).

· Overloading or inadequate capacity (2.4%). South Africa, for example, doesn’t have enough power stations to produce the amount of power that is needed, so they have outages due to overloading.

· Accumulation of dust, dirt, and oil (2.2%). This can be avoided through frequent visual inspections.

· All other causes (8.1%).

Things that we take for granted could cause electrical system failures. In Arizona, it’s often rattlesnakes—they like the warm transformers, so they curl up in there and may bite the tube, electrocuting themselves. This will cause a power outage.

In short, 88% of the above failures can be identified by utilizing CBM inspection models more frequently.

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About the Author

Paul Goodbody Engineer Manager, IRISS

Paul is a qualified Electrician, experienced in both domestic and industrial electrical works and has supplemented his skills by becoming a Level 3 qualified Thermographer.  Paul is highly experienced in operational management of maintenance business units, managing them to become highly profitable with a rapid return on investment.