Preventing Animal-caused Outages Improves System Reliability for Electrical Utilities

Electrical utilities face numerous challenges each day in their mission to supply customers with reliable energy. Heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, and superstorms have all been blamed for causing millions of people to be stranded in the dark.

Cantega Greenjacket Precise

Electrical utilities face numerous challenges each day in their mission to supply customers with reliable energy. Heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, and superstorms have all been blamed for causing millions of people to be stranded in the dark. Apart from severe weather, birds and animals are largely responsible for causing numerous power outages each year. These outages affect customers and cost millions of dollars in repairs, man hours and loss of business.

According to studies conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), animal-caused outages can be attributed to at least 18 billion dollars in lost economy each year. Considering the sources of many outages classified as unknown are also animal-caused, these annual losses could be significantly higher.

Cantega Greenjacket Precise
Precise fit covers available for all risk points

Before the Vancouver Winter Olympics of 2010, BC Hydro turned to Cantega Technologies Inc. to resolve the long history of animal related outages at its electrical substations. The utility did not want to run the risk of an outage while the world was watching the games unfold. Cantega, the designer and manufacturer of Greenjacket, was selected because of its product's precise-fit characteristics and comprehensive equipment protection solution. One of the measures BC Hydro used to limit the risk of power outages was the installation of Greenjacket at seven of its substations. The games were a success with no service interruptions.

Since the Winter Olympics, BC Hydro has installed Greenjacket in other substations.

Patrick Hogan, the vice president of T&D Engineering and Design at BC Hydro, commented: "There have been no incidences of bird or animal caused outages in any of our protected substations. To date, Greenjacket has been 100 percent effective in eliminating these types of outages for BC Hydro."

Cantega Greenjacket Sight G
Covers designed to accommodate maintenance procedures yet protect all risk points

Because of Greenjacket's effectiveness, BC Hydro has revised its engineering standards to specify that only precise-fitting cover-up is acceptable and approved for use in its substations. The utility has taken other steps to improve reliability and to reduce system vulnerabilities, including protecting critical electrical equipment such as transformers, voltage regulators, breakers, primary transfer bus, station service equipment, structures with reduced clearances and probable perch points for birds.

Greenjacket equipment protection provides a precision-fit solution. Traditional one-size-fits-all products offer limited protection with inevitable gaps in coverage and vulnerable areas remaining exposed. This can lead to bird and animal contacts, resulting in outages and damage to costly equipment. Cantega designs and manufactures covers that fit within a tolerance of 1/8 inch, eliminating potential contact points and reducing the risk of outages. Greenjacket covers are molded of a polyurea material that has been tested to exceed the requirements of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1656 Guide for Testing the Electrical, Mechanical, and Durability Performance of Wildlife Protective Devices on Overhead Power Distribution Systems Rated up to 38 kV.

In addition, protective products are available for energized equipment. The company has developed hot stick tools and grip-all attachments to install protective covers while systems remain energized-eliminating the need to schedule outages to install protective products.

Cantega Greenjacket Energiz
Tools developed by power linemen for hot install of Cantega cover-up

Cantega founder and president Marty Niles said, "The key to preventing animal-caused outages is essentially using a better fitting product. Ill-fitting covers leave the system susceptible to animal contact and compromise reliability. Greenjacket works because it covers risk points completely and eliminates opportunities for animal contact. Significant cost savings are realized when considering outage-related downtime, costly repairs and the labor involved as a result of a typical bird or animal contact with energized equipment."

Technicians evaluate customer drawings and images of substations or specific structures to develop budgetary estimates for potential projects. Following the approval of the budget, a site assessment is conducted to determine points of risk and to collect dimensional data by taking images. Using photogrammetry to determine all the necessary dimensions from the collected images, Cantega is then able to develop a customized, site-specific protection plan. This plan includes an itemized list of protective covers and information about installation sequences. The company then manufactures the Greenjacket products, ships them to the client, and can supervise an installation or provide complete installation services.

Cantega Greenjacket Energi1
Precise fit covers designed from exacting measurements of equipment

During an installation in a de-energized substation, a four-man crew was able to protect the low voltage side of the substation, which included installing 582 Greenjacket covers and more than 1,500 feet of conductor cover in two 7-hour work days.

AltaLink, Canada's only fully independent transmission company, credits the installation of Greenjacket products for its 95 percent reduction in bird and animal caused outages since they were first installed in 2006. According to AltaLink, its Greenjacket program has resulted in improvements to the System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and the Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI) of 2.7 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. AltaLink owns and operates more than half of Alberta's transmission grid and serves 85 percent of the province's population. That includes the maintenance and operation of more than 7,000 miles of transmission lines and 280 substations within the province.

Cantega Greenjacket Precis1
Covers available for any type of equipment

Dennis Frehlich, executive vice president and chief operating officer for AltaLink, said, "As chief operating officer, I am very focused on making investment decisions that bring value to our customers. Our investment decision in Greenjacket to reduce wildlife-caused outages at our substations was a very easy decision. It is very cost-effective, has consistently delivered 90 percent to 95 percent outage reductions at our installed sites, saves customers downtime and protects wildlife. There are few investments in our business that achieve those results."

By taking measures to minimize outages, utilities are able to provide their customers with dependable electricity, improving reliability. Rather than waiting for problems to arise because of aging infrastructure, insulator contamination or animal intrusion, utilities can adopt a proactive approach to save time and money in the long term.

For more information about Greenjacket products, please contact Cantega Technologies at 1-877-448-9701 or through its website at

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