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3 Author(s)
Bhavin Desai ; The Electric Power Research Institute. ; Matt Walther ; James Haufler

As requirements for service reliability have increased, many utility asset managers are also facing pressures to reduce maintenance costs while squeezing more performance from existing-and often aging-equipment. High-voltage circuit breakers provide a case in point. Not only are high-voltage breakers essential to the protection of other system components under fault conditions, their reliable switching operation is necessary for maintaining optimal system conditions. A breaker's failure to operate as required can result in equipment damage, increased system disturbance, and loss of load. With many years of experience, utilities have established programs for maintaining circuit breakers in good operating order. Because of their sheer numbers, however, breakers represent a significant portion of a utility's power delivery maintenance budget. The maintenance challenge is made more complicated by the fact that many breakers, including breakers that have been in service for decades, remain idle for extended periods during normal system conditions. In response to pressures to reduce maintenance expenses, many utilities have moved away from the original manufacturer's maintenance recommendaticondition-based approachesons, which were principally based on time in operation and number of operations, and toward reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) and condition-based approaches.

Published in:

IEEE Power and Energy Magazine  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 6 )