27 Sep 2018

Electrical Maintenance and Repair

Electrical maintenance for construction

Keeping electrical power systems running at full capacity requires regular and routine maintenance. Even if a system has been installed and continues to run without failure for years, an emergency or maintenance strategy for when things go wrong is always necessary. How would an unscheduled repair job affect your output?

With improved designs and advanced electrical technologies, maintenance is still an important part of running an electrical system. By leaving situations to fester until a component breaks or a piece of equipment fails, contractors can lose out on revenue and waste unnecessary time. 

Do the strategies you have in place properly address routine maintenance procedures? 

When a transformer blows or switchgear malfunctions, it will cause inconvenient and costly power outages which, in turn, can cause additional failures on systems that are reliant on that power. 

While maintenance is vital, precautions and preventions can be put in place for when those repairs are happening. 

Isolating Equipment Using Switchgear and Transformers

With any electrical power system, it’s important that individual pieces of equipment can be disconnected and isolated for both safety reasons and for the ability to keep maintenance and emergency repair work quick and efficient.

Switchgear separates different parts of the electrical circuit, and can be implemented from low voltages of 11 kV right up to high voltage systems that produce 132 kV. The ability to switch off one transformer while generating power with another is incredibly useful during maintenance and repair. 

In one instance, a flooded electrical room in a high rise office meant the contractor was unable to have any tenants in the building. Electricity was out and there was no safe way to transmit electral supply to the building. 

We designed and installed a temporary power supply for the office block, allowing occupancy by tenants in less than 4 days. The temporary system included two generators powered by natural gas with portable fuel tanks that were monitored 24/7. 

Keeping Power Online During Repairs and Maintenance

A casino faced losing millions in revenue when an electrical storm hit the Chicago area, causing power outages throughout the city. 

At first glance, it looked like the 53,000 square foot casino was only temporarily out of power. But after a closer look, the contractor realized that lightning had struck the transformer, causing permanent damage and potential long-term power loss for the whole casino. 

Because of its unique location on a floating barge, getting the transformer fixed was a challenge. And, due to the extent of the storm damage, the contractor quickly realized they’d need a more complex solution that would keep the casino running while repairs took place on the transformer. 

We developed a solution that consisted of 1.5 MW generators operating in parallel. Each generator was individually programmed to share the electrical load, which drastically reduced fuel consumption and meant that if one generator went down the other could pick up the slack. 

As well as installing the generators, we also used the Aggreko Remote Monitoring (ARM) team who could look out for any problems with the generators via real-time data. Within just eight hours of receiving the call from the contractor, we had successfully installed a cost-effective system that meant the casino would receive continuous power while repairs took place. 

In another instance, power to a high-rise building was shut down for maintenance on the elevators. Power couldn’t be restored, leaving the building inaccessible to its elderly residents. 

Safe and reliable restoration of the elevator was critical to get things back up and running as soon as possible. The incident quickly hit the news, making it an even more pressing issue for the contractor and building maintenance manager. 

We provided a 300 kW generator so that we could position and activate the elevator’s temporary power system within 24 hours of the contractor reaching out to us. We actually managed to restore power to the building in just 12 hours thanks to the large range of generators at our disposal. 

Preparing Beforehand for Maintenance and Repairs

While bringing in solutions when something goes wrong during a maintenance job or a repair is better than nothing, the process is a whole lot quicker when contractors have prepared beforehand. 

Having a system in place before maintenance even begins means that any unforeseen outages or power cuts can quickly be remedied so that the unit or building is back up and running as quickly as possible.

To prepare for routine or emergency maintenance, property managers and contractors should have a pre-planned strategy in place that can seamlessly take over the power supply while maintenance is being carried out. They’ll need to know when a piece of equipment is being repaired, how long it will take, and whether any other components will be affected during that time. 

For many contractors, maintenance is an important part of running an electrical power system. Without it, outages and unplanned failures can lead to a loss of revenue and wasted time trying to fix the problem. By preparing beforehand, utilizing equipment that’s already on hand, and keeping power online in whatever way possible, contractors can minimize any risks that might occur during maintenance and repairs.