The strategic objective of improving the reliability/continuity of electricity supply in St. Vincent is about to take a giant leap at VINLEC, with the introduction of live-line maintenance work on its transmission and distribution system.
This follows a very significant step taken about two years ago when the use of Pole Trusses was introduced to reduce the number of outages linked to the replacement of rotten poles. Over the past three weeks, employees in the Transmission and Distribution Department were involved in the final phases of preparation to technically and mentally prepare themselves to undertake scheduled live-line maintenance activities.
Live Line maintenance on a power system involves the removal/replacement of: poles, transformers, capacitors, cross arms, insulators, and other auxiliary fittings on the transmission and distribution infrastructure, while maintaining the flow of electricity to customers. In the current operating mode within the company, all such activities are performed on deadlines (i.e. de-energised lines). In these cases, customers are informed well in advance of the electricity outage to facilitate scheduled maintenance work. This improvement will allow the company to continue to provide electricity to critical customers while maintenance work is underway on its transmission and distribution infrastructure. Consequently, customers are likely to see less outages for planned maintenance activities.
Getting to this stage started some four years ago when the company introduced a structured Lineman Development Programme. Over this period, several Linemen in the Transmission and Distribution Department have been involved in self-study, classroom training, practical training and skills based assessment by certified regional experts, under the auspices of the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation – CARILEC.
The project to develop live-line maintenance crews in VINLEC is headed by Mr. Elrias Williams, Manager Special Projects; an exercise he commenced in his former position of Senior Transmission and Distribution Engineer.