Proactive maintenance and routine inspections surfaced a damaged insulator and “hot spot” on a substation disconnect switch.
Proactive maintenance keeps the lights on in Alpena.
Situated in the scenic northeast corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Alpena Power Company is an investor-owned, family-operated utility that has served customers in Alpena, Presque Isle and Montmorency counties for more than 135 years. Providing affordable, reliable service is a hallmark of Alpena Power, which boasts 99.98% average availability to its customers.
Alpena Power connects to ITC’s high-voltage transmission system at the Alpena Substation, one of 283 stations and substations across Michigan with assets maintained and operated by ITC. The companies share a strong commitment to operational excellence and a proactive maintenance approach, so when a damaged insulator and “hot spot” on a substation disconnect switch were discovered during a routine inspection, they quickly took action.
The unique configuration of Alpena Substation made isolating the equipment for repair especially challenging. Low clearances to conduct the work added to the degree of difficulty. ITC assembled a project team from its asset management, maintenance, relay design, operations and stakeholder relations teams to assess the situation and develop a solution. The goal: to make the repairs safely and with no outage to the customer.
“It’s an example of how you get the right people together at the right time. You talk about different options, listen to everyone’s concerns and needs, and come up with a solution that meets all of them. We’re very happy with the outcome of the situation. We’re a small northern Michigan utility, but ITC made this a priority. We all had the same goal in mind, to serve the customer. That goes a long way with us.”
–Ken Dragiewicz, Vice President for Alpena Power
ITC reviewed the substation plans in detail to determine the best approach, and secured parts to address multiple contingencies. The team ultimately determined that ITC could keep Alpena Power energized through a special configuration while repairs were made to the disconnect and damaged insulator. Work was conducted during an off-peak time to minimize load on the system, and completed in approximately three hours.