Comprehensive Electrical Maintenance Program Prioritizes Safety

Two men wearing PPE gear working on a breaker box.

July 5, 2023

A client recently hired us to execute an electrical maintenance program at their facilities throughout the country. Our deep expertise in arc flash studies, grounding audits, and general electrical condition evaluations made us a good fit for this program. Two years and 30+ facilities later, we are about halfway through this cycle and going strong. If you’re due for a 5-year arc flash study or wonder about the condition of your electrical systems, read on to discover how a program like this can save you money and boost plant safety.

Maintenance Program Goes Beyond Compliance

You know that complying with NFPA 70E arc flash regulations is not the only point of electrical maintenance. Safety is the top concern. A comprehensive program will identify safety risks, provide short-term and long-term remediation plans, correct reliability issues to avoid unnecessary downtime, and give you an overall view of the health status of your electrical infrastructure. This will help keep your employees safe while allowing you to plan for future investments and expansions.

According to Corey Hoffman, Project Manager at Interstates, “This client has many aging facilities, and they were looking for a way to identify hazards and risks that will help them make informed investment decisions. Interstates is handling a large portion of this initiative, including arc flash studies, grounding audits, general condition evaluations, and even remediation plans.”

What is the Process?

The program focuses on the age, usability, and maintainability of equipment and protective devices. The time investment varies by location, but generally, it’s about eight weeks per site. The process includes 1-2 days on site, 2-3 weeks of office work and analysis, a review meeting to discuss findings, and then a month for the client to make corrective actions. Jack Lembcke, Field Analyst II at Interstates, says, “At each facility, we take pictures and look at the client’s system to help them develop a maintenance regiment or provide upkeep solutions. We provide the client with specific information about their exact gear and how it can be used or maintained in the future.”

The Benefits of Routine Electrical Maintenance

Besides the obvious importance of safety, there are many reasons to pursue an electrical maintenance program with an experienced provider like Interstates. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Finding any weak points in the electrical system, whether it’s underrated equipment, a breaker that is discontinued, or parts that are no longer available.
  • Saving money and time by identifying problems early and solving them before they cause an accident or unplanned outage.
  • Collecting data to see what sites have immediate electrical needs or safety concerns. Examples include finding breakers tripping out of order or grounding test points with a high ohm reading.
  • Supporting continuous improvement efforts and electrical investments.

Make sure you choose a provider that can bundle all these solutions for cost and time savings. Brian Tepe, Field Analyst II at Interstates, says, “With all the resources we have under our umbrella at Interstates, we can identify the problem, and we can provide the solution, too. We can mobilize our electricians and get our panel shop or engineers involved to resolve any issues that come up.” Whether we’re analyzing data to determine immediate electrical needs or helping you remain NFPA compliant, our team has the expertise and resources to understand your needs and act on them. An electrical maintenance program like the one our client initiated is a great way to accomplish these goals.

Lembcke sums it up: “Combining an electrical maintenance program with grounding and arc flash studies provides you with a great deal of reliability and better usability of your electrical gear. Our work will benefit equipment health and keep personnel and equipment safe.”