Project Spotlight: Infrared Imaging for Predictive Prevention

Project Spotlight: Infrared Imaging for Predictive Prevention

Providing a safe and reliable supply of electricity to customers across Oshawa relies on a unique combination of both reactive and predictive maintenance on our existing infrastructure. When a fault occurs and power to our customers is interrupted, you can count on our team to take action and work towards restoration as quickly as possible. But what are we doing to prevent outages from occuring in the first place?

When it comes to prevention of power outages, we have taken many steps to increase the resiliency of our local grid, from installation of critter guards to prevent wildlife contacts to the ongoing replacement of aging equipment. But one of our biggest challenges comes from something we cannot see.

Loosening or deteriorating connections can cause increases in ambient temperature, or ‘hotspots’, throughout our grid that are not visible to the naked eye. If these connections are not up to par, resistance is increased in the affected part of the grid which increases the temperature of the components, causing further deterioration and potential shorts in our grid that may cause power outages to occur.

In order to combat these potential defects, we have implemented our Infrared Scanning Program to monitor the condition and ambient temperature across more than 534km of overhead circuit and approximately 150 underground vaults. This process allows us to pinpoint the exact location of potentially defective connections causing hotspots and prioritize their maintenance or replacement as part of our ongoing maintenance plans.

After imaging of our infrastructure is complete, our team can determine which hotspots present the largest risk to our grid and begin the process of ensuring these defects are dealt with before they can deteriorate further and take out power to customers across our city.

“In recent years we have improved resiliency across our grid and streamlined our power restoration process, allowing our team to shift focus towards prevention strategies. With our philosophy of Strategic Engineering in mind, we are employing new technologies to help us pinpoint defects in our grid and make necessary repairs before our customers experience an outage, ultimately improving the service we provide to local residents.”

– Mike Weatherbee, Managing Director, Oshawa Power

This year’s infrared scanning uncovered more than 100 anomalies across our 145km2 service territory, ranging in severity and risk. Most anomalies fell into the low- to medium-risk category, warranting investigation and further monitoring but highly unlikely to cause an interruption in the near term. Other hotspots were deemed to be much higher priority, including one connection that looked normal to the naked eye but showed an ambient temperature difference of greater than 81℃, warranting immediate action.

High Temperature Anomaly

A high-risk anomaly was detected and repaired near Ritson Rd. and Darcy St. This connection had an ambient temperature difference of more than 81℃.

Our team will adapt our ongoing maintenance planning to prioritize the maintenance and repair of high-risk anomalies and prevent defects from causing outages for our customers. As we move into an increasingly connected future we understand that, in order to better serve customers across Oshawa, we must not only respond in a timely manner to restore service but also continue seeking new strategies and technologies that allow us to proactively prevent outages from happening.

About Oshawa Power

Oshawa Power is dedicated to the evolving needs of our customers as a leading enabler of integrated critical energy and infrastructure. Oshawa Power is wholly owned by the great City of Oshawa.

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