Teamwork makes the substation dream work

About every 35 years, an electrical transformer needs to be replaced. Two major substation projects were recently completed. The Military Substation Power Transformer T1 and the FM 802 Substation Power Circuit Breaker were replaced.

Engineering and construction for these types of projects are typically outsourced. However, the Electrical Engineering, Substation & Relaying, and SCADA departments came together as a team and accepted the challenge to have this done in-house.

The challenging projects required special orders for material and services. Additionally, the transformer job required the procurement of a 350-ton crane as well as transportation services for translating the spare power transformer from Titan Substation to Military Substation. This is material and equipment that is not part of the inventory since this type of substation job is not done every day.

Other challenges included scheduling. Due to ERCOT’s summer transmission outage restrictions, the breaker project had to be completed before ERCOT’s restric­tions started May 15. This meant that the substation crew had to be divided so that the two projects could be done simultaneously.

The substation personnel first had to disassemble and disconnect the old transformer so that it could be removed from its original foundation.  Once the new transformer was set in the existing foundation, the new power transformer had to be assembled by the substation crew. The substation crew installed the protection and control cables, the high voltage jumpers and also ran the electrical test required prior to energizing the transformer.

Similarly, the power circuit breaker had to be disconnected before it was to be removed and once the new breaker was set in its foundation, it was wired, connected, and tested prior to energizing the breaker.

The Relaying crew assisted with the testing, troubleshooting, and commissioning of the new equipment. The SCADA staff helped with the communication interface for the new equipment.

The schedule was tight, but the circuit breaker replace­ment project was completed in one week. The power transformer replace­ment project took three and a half weeks to complete.

“This was the fastest breaker replacement project I have seen,” said Cortinas.

The three BPUB departments worked together and successfully completed the replacement of the power transformer and the circuit breaker.