This issue of Utility Products brings you our “2017 New Products Guide” - highlighting recent products for various areas of the utility industry. Among the guide’s overhead and underground products are a cable real trailer, stringing and underground equipment, an air hammer and a tensioner. For safety, we feature safety goggles, outerwear, labels and wire markers, and more. Products for test and measurement include a digital voltmeter/phaser, voltage detectors, a stakeless earth ground clamp, and SF6 gas leak detection. Among utility tools and supplies there are multi-tap and in-line splice reducers, battery-powered hydraulic tools, a compression kit, electronic forms, a power converter, plastic pipe splitting heads, and a compact snatch block for easy use. For transmission and distribution, we have connectors and couplings, and flexible metal conduit fittings; a remote switch actuator; and terminal boxes built to the latest certifications. There are also a variety of products for vehicles and accessories - some of which include an all-terrain tree trimmer, a four-wheel skidder, and a hydraulic oil cooler.
Our feature article, “How Utilities are Realizing Benefits of Energy Storage,” by Kevin Williams, reports that utility-side energy storage has doubled in the past years to 3.4 gigawatts - and predicts strong growth in the coming years. Williams discusses how energy storage offers many benefits to utilities: Energy storage can be used to shift electricity demand from on-peak to off-peak times, alleviating peak demand charges. Other ways include enhanced efficiency of renewables and increased grid resilience.
Utility Products also brings you a great lineup of product focus articles. “Design and Stability of Direct-embedded Structures,” by Deepa Akula, addresses the importance of foundation design for any overhead structure. The structural integrity of our distribution system depends on reliable structure design and foundation design, and Akula outlines the importance of the “rule of thumb of 10 percent of total length of pole plus two feet,” which is usually used for foundation embedment. This is a good start for estimating the project cost, but Akula discusses the importance of understanding the limitations of the rule and using it only when applicable.
“Locating Short Drops and Fault Locating,” by Steve Benzie, presents helpful ways to locate a cable or pipe. In addition to the usual ways, Benzie elaborates on ensuring both ends are well earthed. He discusses when different techniques should be used and the procedures to follow.
Jeff Jowett’s article, “The Importance and Benefits of Portable Testing,” outlines safety testing of portable electrical equipment in accordance with national and local standards. Electrical safety covers a wide range, and Jowett addresses how it can extend the life of equipment by keeping a regularly-updated maintenance regime.
“Earth Ground Resistance Testing can Improve Uptime,” by Jit Patel, reviews how regular grounding measurements can be made without taking equipment offline. And “Reliable Testing of Transformer Wiring - a Poor Relation?,” by Ulrich Klapper and Klaus Jotz, outlines how vital wiring testing is, especially when commissioning a new or modified installation.
Michael Hinton’ article, “Managing Grid Stability and Transmission Congestion in the New Age of Energy,” takes a look at how the U.S. power grid, more than a century old, in many ways is not that different now than it was in the early days. Hinton discusses some of the things we must do to transition to a smarter grid system and stronger power infrastructure.