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EN Leads the Fire Hardening Process

The risk of fire around power lines increases with dry conditions, thick vegetation, downed power lines, equipment failure, and others causes. Those problems can occur anywhere in the country, and EN Engineering works with utility companies to plan, design, and mitigate some of those factors. Cedric Moore is the EN Engineering Vice President-Western Region responsible for working with utility companies to design fire hardening measures to avoid damage to the electrical distribution system, personal property, and the environment.

“We participate in a system-wide evaluation of the distribution power grid and its field application,” Moore responded when asked about the mission of his projects. “Together, we look at the map, identify areas where the terrain is difficult, or vegetation is overgrown. Factors such as wind, humidity, and other factors are calculated to assess where assets are at risk.”

The effect of wind on electrical systems is a challenge requiring considerable attention. “When the winds blow strong enough the electrical wires can start conductor slap or ‘galloping.’ If clearances between wires is insufficient, conductors come in close contact with one another and can produce a spark that can lead to fires.”

The factors that reduce these risks are well-known, including pole height as well as state of the nearby vegetation. It is imperative that we at EN use the latest in GO95 standards and Utility standards to select the appropriate pole locations heights, and associated conductor and equipment type to mitigate these risks. Documenting and prioritizing these factors is critical to assign work for field technicians out in the field. EN Engineering also helps utility companies identify risk factors related to the electrical load, type of wire, as well as planning takedown and reinstall. We are leveraging field resources that have decades of utility experience in overhead & underground power distribution construction and design to achieve the best possible solutions.

“That assessment goes back to what the customer base is using in terms of power.” That’s where Moore’s experience on the utility side of the industry comes into play. His background in planning electrical distribution for both overhead and underground systems helps determine the most feasible way to go.

Moore described the primary goal of the project: “We are providing proactive measures geared at prevention of future fire hazards.”

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