Manager's Message: Cooperatives Working Cooperatively

Manager's Message: Cooperatives Working Cooperatively

Did you hear about the substation transformer that filled with combustible gases and ignited, leaving thousands of cooperative members out of power for days until repairs could be made?

No, you didn’t, because it didn’t happen here.

On page 6 you can read about what did happen – an everyday story of people working together to take care of a problem before it became an emergency. That’s how things should work.

In this case, our power supplier’s regular equipment testing revealed high levels of combustible gases in a large transformer in the Weidman substation.

Wolverine Power Cooperative’s staff notified us and together, we started planning the best way to replace that transformer with the least disruption to our member-owners in the Weidman area.

Our engineers figured out ways to make the rest of our distribution system take up  the Weidman load through tie lines we’ve been putting in place over the years.

Our line crews, who know the distribution system so well from working on it day and night, suggested a few improvements.

Our member services team notified people who might be affected; even our key accounts coordinator got involved, keeping in close contact with our large power users in the area as work progressed.

Within two weeks of finding out there was a potential problem, the transformer was safely replaced with only a few minor power outages to report.

We had the benefit of a strong tie-line system, due to years of work plan investments and attention to keeping our rights-of-way cleared.

We also were fortunate to have a partner like Wolverine, with their mobile transformers that can fill in temporarily where needed while an expensive piece of equipment is replaced. Wolverine’s attention to detail, such as their proactive equipment testing, is a real asset in keeping your power flowing.

This was an unusual situation. HomeWorks employees with over 30 years in the business had not seen this kind of issue with a substation transformer, although at least two other Michigan electric co-ops have had similar problems that did result in transformer fires and extended outages.

Co-ops working together is more than one of the seven cooperative principles: it’s how we make sure our electric system is working reliably and affordably for you.

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To download a pdf file of the September 2013 issue of Country Lines, including this column and the story it references, use this link:

http://www.countrylines.com/~country1/images/PDF/2013/Sept-13/HomeWorks_Sept-13.pdf

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