Why Substation Maintenance Is Critical For Power And Utility Industries?


July 05, 2021

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Power generating substations lead the entire electricity transmission system. This is the space where energy gets generated for fulfilling the required consumer demand.

A substation probably hasn't the most astonishing work environment, yet it contributes highly to the process of optimizing existing operational capability. It is also a popular term with which the utility industry can generally get recognized.


“Substation makes the most sense with certain attainable forms of data analytics and monitoring tactics.”


While substation alone manages such great work-sets, utility managers should know their prime duty to keep it always in pristine conditions.

Alright! We have brought this post dedicated to simplifying the term ‘substation maintenance’ since misconception guides people to the wrong path of ignorance where progress seems almost impossible.



Top 3 Consequences of improper substation maintenance


Substations acquire multiple major and countless supported equipment that functions together to produce electricity for specified geographical areas.

Even a minor fault can lead to destruction, leaving the whole region into darkness alongside setting a stop to all our daily activities.

Although substations rarely experience some troubles, the electricity distribution system needs to be in full-fledged working condition.

Improper substation automation & management eventually results in equipment failure, which impacts the entire process involved in supplying power to customers. Let’s have a look at failure types that occur mainly in electric units.


1. Switchgear failure


Switch failure unlocks the door to countless risks, mainly fire, terrible explosion, and sudden voltage spike.

Meanwhile, it endangers the lives of technicians whose responsibility is to carry out equipment testing & servicing tasks. The reasons behind switchgear failure are various, but insulation defilement and poor connections stay on the top causes.

Fortunately, modern utilities are capable of eliminating technical constraints in the substations that disturb the electricity supply.


2. Transformer explosions


Technology and constant innovations have made transformer explosion instances close to nil. If we look back 10-15 years ago, blasts were quite common even after mild rainfall.

However, every transformer carries a limited load capacity. It means substations need to accurately determine the fair amount of loads to avoid a potential fire. Currently, utility providers analyze everything, from the condition of transformers to allotted loads, through data analytics and automation techniques. Conventional approaches no longer work out there.


3. Damaged cables and installations


Short circuits can be deflated up to a significant extent with modern cable consisting of high-quality plastic material and metal. This cable type often guarantees lifespan in decades and poses fewer explosion chances.

Regardless of such strong points, modern cables may stir up some hazards, including:

  • Blast in cable boxes that are attached to transformers, main switches, or other joints. On the other side, traditional boxes remain under the danger zone owing to loose connections and invalid bitumen.
  • Road drills form stabs which create fire & spark in the cables. Both these situations are more than dangerous in terms of substation management.
  • Troubles in cable tunnels obstruct the power distribution by getting corroded and producing fire particles inside the ducts. Maintenance managers ought to use reliable monitoring systems to extinguish the fire.



Advantages Of Substation Maintenance

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Power System Optimization

Utility companies keep a common goal to boost their power production and supply system. They put their best into safe energy distribution even though customers have varied demands for power consumption. With timely maintenance of substation assets, the power system can work ten times more fluid, surpassing the expectations.


1. Increased Lifespan of equipment


Besides assets, the phenomenon of maintenance also implies equipment sets used at substations. Regular inspection and repair keeps a check on wear & tear to calculate the correct depreciation value at least once in three months. By doing so, utilities proceed to increase the equipment’s life span instead of working heedlessly.


2. Workplace Safety


Customers don’t care about the reason behind power outages, all they want is to get electricity back as early as possible. The fault may be a fire in wires or inefficiencies of old transformers that have failed to carry a high load, but these put the workmen’s safety in danger. So, be careful. An extra chunk of waiting time is better than hurting people.


3. Lowered unexpected costs


Assets are not for temporary use. Utilities put them for long-term and to have endless benefits. Hence, engineers should proficiently prefigure the peak maintenance time to upgrade the outdated machines and avoid sudden hindrances in production.



How Do Modern Electric Utilities Maintain Substations?

Substation maintenance strategy has undergone tremendous transformations over the years. The dominance of automation and digitization continues to create a better world.

No doubt manual interference (for fixing the damage, replacing assets, and other servicing jobs) is still a vital thing, automation effectively integrates a structure that protects, monitoring, control, and boosts the power production capacity at different substations.

Digitization and automation also encompasses leading technology like SCADA, GIS, CIS, SCMS, and assest evaluation methodolies to make maintenance easier. Consequently, the stress of system failure doesn’t hover over engineers’ minds.

They now utilize advanced computerized frameworks that quickly observe the sustain and its adjacent functioning units to extract adequate data and deliver the same to utilities.

Thereby, utility managers do further analysis and seek a suitable, on-time solution before any big problem shows up.


Also Give a Read to : Introducing Proactive Substation maintenance With AriesPro SMAA


As stated earlier, technology gives a notable impact globally. It has added enough curiosity and proficiency to everyone. Getting back to the topic, utilities leveares automation when smooth functioning is considered.

Holding on such facts, SMAA produces real-time data to make electric utilities capable of keeping substation assets in a good condition free from any faults. Appa’s other aim is to establish uninterrupted communication among different units so that maintenance can be done right on time.

SMAA is an AriesPro-owned cloud based mobile and web/mobile friendly app that monitors substations, fetches essential data, and dispatches the information to respective members at utilities.

For a detailed overview, visit the company’s website at and check out available products.


Final Words


Waiting for substations to suffer from operational issues or till it reaches the highest potential is not definitely a right decision.

Remember, regular inspection and maintenance can bring exceptional improvement in the production capabilities, which is possible only when utilities shift to automation, data analytics, and machine learning methods.

We welcome recommendations and insights that we missed adding in this blog. You all are free to share your thoughts for betterment of utility industries or the world itself. Looking forward to having the expected response. Our comment section is a great feedback sharing segment too. Go ahead.



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