CIGRÉ conducted a reliability study that showed most failures occur in the main insulation to earth, followed by compressors and pumps, control elements and the interrupting unit. The monitoring devices focus on all of these areas, ensuring increased reliability. On the other hand, the greatest maintenance savings can be expected through comprehensive on-line monitoring of breaker timing, which is also monitored by the device.

Additionally, RG&E was able to secure funding assistance through a recent public utility commission-granted rate increase, intended for reliability improvements, to acquire the turnkey engineering and installation support necessary to achieve these goals.

Wireless monitoring devices render reactive maintenance no longer necessary. Proactive maintenance is required; however, it is much less costly. Additionally, much more information is known about the issue the breaker is experiencing, which means it can be repaired in significantly less time. This is very important because, with time, operation and maintenance resources and experience continue to decline, reducing the efficacy of corrective and preventive maintenance services.

This monitoring solution monitors the interrupter wear, SF6 gas integrity and leakage rate, mechanical integrity of the entire breaker, trip/close conditions, mechanism charging system and control cabinet heating system. The customized software package allows the health and history of each breaker to be examined in one seamless interface. If more than one monitoring device is linked to the interface, the breakers may be cross-examined. In summary, real-time wireless monitoring provided RG&E with decreased maintenance costs and increased reliability.

Edward Messmer( is the supervisor of substation and recloser automation at Rochester Gas & Electric. Since joining RG&E in 1981 as a meter reader, he has worked in the electric substations department, in the field operations division, as a electrician’s helper, substation maintenance and a tester, performing Doble testing and equipment repairs. He also served as substation foreman before being promoted to substation maintenance engineering in 2003.