Routine testing of equipment by utility companies can be a matter of life and death

5 November 2018

Image source CNN


Driving along the scenic highways of California and much of the west coast, you routinely see the aftermath of wildfires. The scarred earth and charred remains of tress and vegetation remind us of the devastation a nature disaster can cause.

When thinking of these wildfires and natural disasters, the terminology suggests these events are caused by nature and are out of our control. But not all of these incidents are natural. Human error, accidents and unfortunate turns of events cause many of these disasters.


People can be the cause of wildfires

Nearly a year ago, fire broke out and engulfed thousands of acres as it swept through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.  The possible culprit: Southern California Edison (SCE), the primary electricity supplier for much of Southern California.  The utility company provides 14 million people with electricity across a service territory of approximately 50,000 square miles.

According to SCE, its electrical equipment is at least partly to blame for starting a deadly fire in Thomas, CA in December 2017. Witnesses noted that a fire ignited in the area of an SCE power pole.  This was one of at least two origin points where the fire began and burned for weeks during the month of December. [Read more about this story here.]

The Thomas fire resulted in the death of two individuals, one of which was a San Diego County firefighter.  It devastated more than 280,000 acres (or more than 430 square miles) of coastal foothills and forests. It was the largest wildfire in California history.

All of this destruction could have been prevented had the utility company checked its equipment.

Routine testing by utility companies is needed

It’s not enough just to fix equipment when it goes bad. By performing routine testing on its equipment on a regular basis, utility companies can prevent such a disaster from happening.

Testing cable and fault locations can be a simple part of a maintenance testing plan thanks to the easy-to-use equipment available nowadays.  There are a variety of products that help run diagnostic tests in minutes to quickly and accurately find where a problem lies. Plus, voltage testing solutions help to provide safe, reliable and robust testing solutions in even the harshest of environments.

DLROsinsulation testerstransformer testing and other equipment can be essential to these efforts.

Testing is a matter of life and death

When thinking about doing maintenance testing, think about saving a life.  It is also saving our beautiful environment. With the advancements in technology over recent years, it takes little time and effort to ensure equipment is up and running as it should be.

Take this opportunity to reevaluate or create a routine maintenance schedule for your equipment today. It might not always be such a large disaster, but even the small chance of such dire consequences should help all of us to focus on the end results of our efforts.

Our goal is to help you keep the power on. If a few extra minutes of effort a couple times a year can help us all to do that job better, and ensure fewer disasters befall our fellow citizens, then we have surely reached that goal with excellence.