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DCS grounding-a multimillion dollar legal issue

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This case study involves how DCS grounding became the focus of a multi-million dollar lawsuit. A relatively mundane technical issue like grounding can now become the pivot on which high stakes legal dramas can turn. Although the case is real, the specifics have been generalized in order to maintain anonymity of the parties involved. A new generating station designed and built in the early 1990s had been in service for approximately one year when a lightning strike or strikes hit the facility. Numerous instrumentation failures were experienced and multiple cards within the DCS were damaged or destroyed. The damage pattern did not correlate well to known strike points or destroyed instruments. A field instrument destroyed by the strike did not necessarily have its associated DCS input card destroyed. The facility remained offline for several days, with resultant contractual liabilities of over 5 million dollars. DCS grounding and the adequacy of the initial design became the point on which the case turned

Published in:

Power Engineering Society Summer Meeting, 1999. IEEE  (Volume:2 )

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