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Counties Energy to use acoustics to track down repeat faults

Lines company Counties Energy is embarking on a trial to detect and prevent outages through acoustics.  The survey will use a highly-tuned microphone to listen to equipment in areas where repeated unexplained faults occur to detect the issue and resolve it.

The aim of the survey is to hear electricity leaking through the insulator, with the microphone able to detect very slight anomalies that are unable to be detected any other way.

Counties Energy General Manager Network Paul Blue says the aim of the initiative is to improve reliability for customers, and ultimately also efficiency for the company’s operational crews.

“In wet weather moisture can seep into tiny hairline cracks in an insulator on power poles, which can cause an intermittent outage.  These cracks are too small to be detected by crews patrolling the power lines for the source of the fault or even by aerial surveys.  The power is often successfully restored with the cause of the outage unexplained, only to occur again when further moisture is able to seep back into the insulator. This can be frustrating for the community who have intermittent unexplained outages, and for our crews trying their best to find the cause of the outage. Detecting damaged insulators will help to keep the power flowing and reduce time spent looking for causes that cannot be seen by the eye.”

The trial surveys will run from 7th – 30th  March in the Karaka, Glenbrook and Waiuku areas, as well as in the greater Port Waikato – Waikaretu areas.

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