On April 18, electricians of SE NPC Ukrenergo started works on the power transmission line without de-energising. The first “touching the potential” was on 330kV PL Vinnytska-Ladyzhynska TPP Carrying out live works without risk to the lives and health of workers is an important innovation. This will reduce the disconnection time of the overhead line for repairs and routine maintenance, improve the availability (preparedness) of the network, and reduce transmission losses. Secondly, this will significantly reduce the likelihood of disconnection of consumers or limiting the capacity of generation facilities. This is of great importance when the line supplies a large enterprise or even a whole city. Such work requires maximum concentration, strict observance of safety rules and continuous supervision.
When an electrician touches the potential, a characteristic “cracking” is heard. This is a sign of a breakdown in airspace. The electrician aligns his potential with the potential of the PL, and only then can he perform his work safely. The electricians are protected from the electromagnetic field with special red suits. It is akin to the Faraday’s cage. Silver-coated metal thread is woven into the fabric. The worker’s face is protects with a meshed helmet, and on their hands they wear special gloves of the same fabric. All components of the protective suit are connected. Weather conditions play an important role in live works: humidity should be no higher than 90%, and the wind speed should not exceed 10 m/s.
The newly-established unit was preparing to conduct live works for several months. Vinnytsia electricians became the first in the company to master this method. It requires considerable professionalism and experience, therefore, the staff had to developed the regulatory framework on their own, produced prototype devices and equipment, and tested their reliability and properties in a certified laboratory within Ukrenergo’s Vinnytsia division. The cost of similar training at the rates of European TSOs can reach several million euros. Practical trainings on live works on the power transmission lines for Ukrenergo’s electricians began in December 2018.
“It took three years from the idea to revive live works on the PTLs, which is the pinnacle of technical skill for electricians and a challenge for the safety of the work. We travelled the path of developing our own technical solutions, consulting with colleagues in Europe, and sending our guys to France to adopt their experience. Ukrenergo’s implementing and developing such technologies should shape a new culture of operation and maintenance of overhead lines in the country, focussing on reliability and availability”, Ukrenergo’s CEO Vsevolod Kovalchuk noted.