Lightning fun...

We've had a rough few days here in Central Indiana.... it's topping 100 most afternoons.
Monday night, we had a fierce lightning storm blow through. As the regulars here know... I go fix that for my customers.
Roll up early AM Tuesday to a dark plant... 8 mW sub down. The breaker had opened.
Duke Energy (the Carolina folks that bought out our local outfit, CIEnergy)have demanded that factories with large loads don't have "re-close" without an approval from the network people in... well, wherever they are.
"Re-closing" happens fairly regularly in the real world. Say your City sub-station takes a lightning hit, or a line drops somewhere... the primary power source opens up to protect itself... then waits a few seconds and turns things back on. In this amount of time, a downed line has usually cleared a local fuse so the breaker says "OK, let's give the other 40,000 people juice."
So.. back to the real world. I roll up. Dark plant and 400 people standing around. I dig out the spot and check the "local circuit", a 15 kV line. All looks OK. I tell Duke... on behalf of my customer... to close the breaker. Linemen from CINERGY were with me and agreed the "lightning dance" probably tripped the plant... the breaker showed a "time-out" ground to "B" phase.... that's all.
... Now, we wait 2 and a half hours for somebody, somewhere to decide if it's OK to "heat it up.". 2 and a half hours.... me, two of our trucks and SIX people from Duke stood around and shook our heads. We actually debated closing the damn breaker, anyway.
Funny thing... I'm standing there with one of the Duke sub-station guys and his phone rings. It's his wife telling him Duke just called and asked that he come to work... that he was needed exactly where we're standing....
Geeze... the Duke guys say to me... this has been going on for months. If the "cluster-fuck" continues, someone could easily get killed. No-one knows where anyone else is... the linemen use their cell-phones to communicate because the dispatch is clueless. Systems people.. who work not more than 15 feet from distribution people... are not talking to one another. I told Julie when I got home.. this stuff scares me.
Used to be... (before "corporate downsizing") that you'd call the systems people and say... "Hey, I've gotta take this XXX 69 line down to re-connect". We'd tag it out, move down the line and rest assured that EVERYONE down the circuit was safe. I'm not so sure that's the case anymore.
I trust my fellow electricians... whether they work for Duke or anyone else. I always believed they'd keep me safe.
With this latest problem... I'm not so sure anyone in management cares whether the guys in the trenches get hurt... or not.
Sorry... consider this a rant.
Jake
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Your part around Anderson In. always gets the worse storms! My daughter went to Anderson U and they always have severe weather!
If you guys are messed up then Ohio Ed/First Energy is too. You can't even get a live person on the phone until you pressed every number ten times on the phone pad, THEN they call you back or its always the wrong dept. The other thing is cut back. I'm told by a lineman friend of mine that the linemen are VERY VERY Short handed right now, when a storm moves in they bring up linemen from up to five states and they aren't familiar with the layouts or the area, which doesn't make for a great safety margin. Heck, we can't even cut the trees correctly without downing the eastern half of the USA.
Rich
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Geoman wrote:

Rich,
We can call that "top secret" number we're sworn not to give anyone under penalty of death and actually talk to someone at the control center in Cincy... or wherever they are now.
The problem is... they don't have a clue.
Some folks may not know this, but every single line and every single transformer hooked to a transmission or distribution center has a number associated with it. CINergy used to have a decent system where we'd call Control and say "1001-49, sub 1076, ground T/O fault T/O on X phase, local cleared to re-connect". If no-one showed up in the database as on the local line, and the telemetry said there was no fault... they say "close 1001-49, sub 1076, stay on the line and verify current."
I'd then repeat it to them... EXACTLY. And I'd say "closing 1076, no-event, 130 all three (or something similar)". Then we'd all go home and have a beer!
Not anymore... Hell, I think I'm scared of closing another 69 kV circuit these days for fear of getting someone killed.... or fading Anderson into darkness.
Jake
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You know, what I would do is call some TV/Radio stations and say, 'Hey, I've got a news story for you" Then call your representative just before you call the newspeople and tell the newspeople to contact the representative. Put the reps on the spot and some things will be done, votes= money.
Rich
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