Fortnightly Top Innovators 2018
Brent McKinney is Director – Electric Transmission and Distribution, City Utilities of Springfield.
Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and President of Lines Up, Inc.
PUF: What is this project on mobile testing for voltage faults?
Brent McKinney: There's a company, Power Survey Company, with a detection device that is designed for mobile testing of voltage faults. We tested that to see how well it performed to find areas that have leakage currents, or have some spot voltage, and it did well.
We knew the area where we had issues, but we also found areas where we didn't know we had problems. We were able to determine what issues it could locate and then we were able to clean up areas that might have a voltage issue that would be exposed to the public. It was also able to detect leakage current within some of our underground areas.
PUF: Can this improve safety?
Brent McKinney: There's a new standard — IEEE 1695 — on contact voltage for the public and what's safe. There have been incidents, including some fatalities where there has been contact voltage on street lights, grates in the sidewalk, and other structure.
The new standard established some guidelines and with so much buried service now, there can be so many items that can carry stray currents. We wanted to make sure that there were no hazards.
PUF: Can this be used across the country?