We've had a rough few days here in Central Indiana.... it's topping 100
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
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
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.