By: Kendall Smith, Induron Power Market Manager, & Andy Odorzynski, Induron National Sales Manager
In the wake of tragedies like the camp fire in California, and the larger infrastructure crisis looming in the United States, our country’s utilities find themselves at a crossroads: continue to crumble or engage in sustainable asset management.
This decision seems easy. After all, in the regulated utility environment the costs of providing a safe and sustainable power grid are to be borne by the rate payer. However, in practical observation, the T&D infrastructure continues to decline, and plannable asset management is ignored.
Here is a practical example: If you own 40,000 lattice towers and coat just 500 of them a year, it will take you 80 years to paint them all. Plus, if you only receive 15 years of protection from the applied coatings, you will never finish coating the structures. In fact, you will fall further and further behind. Eventually, at this rate, the structures will need to be replaced at a multiplied cost to properly protect them. Neglecting to protect T&D equipment can not only lead to costly solutions, but it also endangers the area around the assets.
Approaching painting projects randomly when the money is available like the above example is a recipe for long-term and long-lasting problems. The result of this “project approach” is putting your assets at risk, which impacts the asset’s ability to generate revenue. The cost of replacing thousands of structures, which requires de-energized conductors, is daunting.
Consequently, Induron recommends setting up an asset protection program to mitigate this costly and risky situation.
With an in-house corrosion expert and engineer involved specialized in corrosion inspection and training, you can establish a program on your own. But, if you don’t have this expertise in-house, Induron’s Induraplan program is a great place to start. An Induron representative can help you set up a fundamental asset protection program that will extend the life of your T&D assets and avoid replacing T&D structures. In fact, Induron has customers who have 100-year-old T&D structures with minimal to zero corrosion issues!
There are electric utilities who have figured out how to re-classify T&D coatings as CapEx vs. OpEx, which frees up more money to start coating programs. Induron can help you with that, as well as survey the level of corrosion, the degree of cleaning and surface preparation required, and the most cost-effective, long-lasting coating system. Some of the structures we are coating now were last coated in the 1980s.
All in all, when comparing an asset protection program with a “project approach,” the asset protection program wins every time. An effective asset protection program empowers you to attain a fully-protected grid!