What do Easter baskets and substations have in common? A lot of eggs in one basket.

Are you installing a wildlife cover at your distribution transformers to improve reliability and save equipment? Whereas a distribution transformer may have 1 to 8 customers connected, a substation may have 1,000 to 6,000 connected customers. Providing a wildlife cover for substations just makes sense.

A CRN study reports that 80 to 90% of substation outages are caused by birds, snakes, squirrels and raccoons. Cuban-tree-frog-induced flashovers at transformer low-side surge arresters and lizard-induced flashovers at instrument transformers are a few of the unusual incidents that have been reported multiple times in the past.

Equipment damage related to wildlife outage has been documented to total up to $100,000 per power transformer low-side incident and up to $30,000 per feeder breaker/recloser incident.

Applying a wildlife cover in substations should also support the utility’s Avian Protection Plan. A bird electrocution is a misdemeanor violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is punishable by fines and imprisonment (very few bird species do not fall under the protection of the MBTA.) There may be other federal, state and local laws that apply as well.

Other consequences of wildlife incidents in substations include lost revenue, negative reliability impacts and negative member/customer perception. And, there have been occasional unflattering news stories (reported in a sarcastic tone) circulating the utility’s claim that an errant creature in the utility substation caused the hour-long outage to traffic control during rush hour or the outage to thousands of people who were preparing to sit down for dinner.

A substation that consists of one power transformer, bus regulators, medium voltage metering, main and transfer bus, equipment isolating disconnect switches and four feeder bays may likely be protected by $15,000 to $20,000 of wildlife cover material.

Gresco support includes site visits, review of substation drawings and substation Bill of Material, development of a menu offering of the highest quality cover and installation support. If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch with your Gresco Account Manager to set up a consultation.

Steve Wright
Technical Services Representative

CRN Report #98-17G, 05-23-06