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Eleccom - Repair and Maintenance to overhead power lines in Wilmington, MA

Live line working also known as hotline repair, involves the most sophisticated methods in repair and maintenance to overhead power lines in Wilmington, MA. Repair and maintenance operations are performed without cutting off the power which is usually high voltage. While overhead electric power lines utilize high voltages, most objects including people are normally 0 potential or neutral. When neutral objects or objects at different potential, come close to or in direct contact with high potential points such as overhead power lines, large current or electrical arcing is generated. These currents can be debilitating because they can cause electrical fault to power systems and equipment or electrical shock when passed through the human body. The following hotline repair methods protect the linemen from perilous electrical arcing.

  1. Bare-hand or Hot Hand Method. Maintaining the same voltage between the power line and the tools and the human body performing the repair is a commonly used technique. A specialized suit is worn by linemen doing the repair. Workers are raised to the same voltage as the live line using a platform or helicopter. It is crucial that workers must be isolated from other objects with different potential in order not to cause any current to flow. As an effect, all grounded or earthed equipment must be removed. As the worker approaches the power line, small arcing is generated with the use of a conducting wand to electrically bond himself to the live line. At this point, the worker and the power line are at the same potential so the worker is safe from shock.
  2. Hot Stick Method. This method works under the principle that a minimum safe distance must be maintained between the worker and the live line to prevent the occurrence of electrical arcs. The hot stick maintains a safe gap between worker and the live line where surrounding air can sometimes become conductive. Essential repair tools are attached to the hot stick which is normally made up of insulator material providing safe repair work for linemen. However this method limits the linemen’s dexterity as tools are distanced from operating workers themselves.
  3. Hot Gloves. The lineman is protected by insulating gloves and performs the operation in direct contact with the live parts. Additional insulation may be added to protect the worker from exposure to an object at a different potential that may serve as a second point of contact aside from the gloves.

Hotline maintenance and repair is executed when there is a need for both continuous supply of electric power and critical repairs of high voltage conductors and insulators in vital installations such as substations. Moreover, it is also applied when connecting new service connections mostly in areas with rapid growth of electrical consumption. Performing a de-energized downed power line repair may take weeks. A service interruption may require curtailment in power generation which consequently cause instability in interconnected power systems. It is therefore imperative for utility companies to consider live line working in certain circumstances. For more details about overhead power line repair and maintenance, contact Eleccomm.


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