EPRIsolutions (Palo Alto, California, U.S.) and Northeast Utilities (NU; Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.) announce an agreement under which EPRIsolutions will help the utility develop a program for working on energized 345-kV transmission lines in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“The growing demand for power has made it increasingly difficult to schedule outages on these lines to perform required maintenance,” said Kenneth Bowes, director of Transmission Construction & Maintenance for NU. “As a result, we are working with EPRIsolutions to develop a program that allows our line workers to perform maintenance while the lines are energized.”

Elements of the new program will include the evaluation of existing tools and identification of tools to be acquired by the utility, minimum approach distances, overvoltage control, fall protection, pole-top rescue and related procedures, and the development of a program for retraining and certification of linemen.

EPRIsolutions operates a high-voltage Engineering & Test Facility in Lenox, Massachusetts, where it has conducted extensive research on live working tools, techniques and training to increase safety and reliability, while reducing operation and maintenance costs.

“Our clients have included numerous domestic and foreign utilities,” said Dr. George Gela, head of EPRIsolutions live working effort, “and our staff actively participates in the development of national and international standards related to safe working practices on energized lines.”

The NU program will consist of both classroom and field training. It will begin later this year and is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2003. NU workers will learn the latest working procedures and best practices, the application of portable protective air gaps (PPAGs), and care and maintenance (including repair) of tools and equipment.
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