VINLEC linesmen now equipped for live line maintenance work
EMPLOYEES OF THE transmission and distribution department of the St Vincent Electricity Limited (VINLEC) have completed the final phase of specialised training that will enable them to undertake live-line maintenance work on its transmission and distribution system.
Over the past three weeks employees in that department were involved in the final phases of preparation to technically and mentally prepare themselves to undertake scheduled live-line maintenance activities, a release from the company states.
It said that this strategic objective aims to improve the reliability/continuity of electricity supply in St.Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and follows a very significant step taken about two years ago when the use of ‘pole trusses’ was introduced to reduce the number of outages linked to the replacement of rotten poles.
Live Line maintenance on a power system involves the removal/ replacement of: poles, transformers,capacitors, cross arms, insulators, and other auxiliary fittings on the transmission and distribution infrastructure, while maintaining the flow of electricity to customers. In the current operating mode within the company, all such activities are performed on deadlines (i.e. de-energised lines), the release explained. In these cases, customers are informed well in advance of the electricity outage to facilitate scheduled maintenance work. This improvement will allow the company to continue to provide electricity to critical customers while maintenance work is underway on its transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Consequently, customers are likely to see fewer outages for planned maintenance activities.
Preparatory work started four years ago when the company introduced a structured Lineman Development Programme during which several linemen in the transmission and distribution department have been involved in self-study, classroom training, practical training and skills based assessment by certified regional experts. This was done under the auspices of the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation – CARILEC. The project to develop live-line maintenance crews in VINLEC is headed by manager of special projects, Elrias Williams an exercise he commenced in his former position of senior transmission and distribution engineer at the company.
An important component of safe live-line maintenance work is having the correct tools and equipment, and the company said it spared no efforts in making sure that employees have all the requirements, including a highly specialized line truck.
During the past three weeks these employees were given theoretical and practical training with the necessary tools and equipment under the guidance of the training & skill development department of K-Line Maintenance and Construction, a Canadian based company. The three-week training was conducted by Allen Moss, Director-Training & Skill Development, Paul Komaromi and Mark Wetzel- Training & Skills Development Specialists.