12 October 2017
Insurance companies are increasingly demanding that businesses have appropriate contingency plans in place, including a strategy for High Voltage maintenance, before they will sign off on a policy, principally because electrical failure can instantly stop a business in its tracks.
As a result, Quartzelec, a leading independent electrical engineering contractor, has over recent years seen a significant increase in demand for scheduled HV maintenance and preventative inspections by a qualified Senior Authorised Person. This reverses the trend prevalent at the start of the last economic downturn a decade ago when many looked to defer HV maintenance in a bid to cut costs.
With increased focus on safety and business continuity, owner/operators now better understand the benefits of a scheduled maintenance regime,” stated Malcolm Harding, HV Business Development Manager based at Quartzelec’s Wrexham operation. “Business insurance is increasingly only available to those organisations that undertake regular equipment inspections and have maintenance contracts in place with authorised contractors as dealing with failures is usually far more costly, both financially and for its long term impact on the overall business.
A recent HV sub-station inspection was completed by Quartzelec for Surf Snowdonia Adventure Parc; a revolutionary inland 300-metre surf lagoon that has become a major tourist attraction. Located in the Conwy Valley in the lee of the Snowdonia Mountains, Quartzelec's ties to this specific location can be traced back over 30 years when the land was previously home to Dolgarrog Aluminium and where Quartzelec provided the necessary maintenance and service for the large DC motors utilised in the production of aluminium as well as the hydro-electric generators at the adjacent power station for a number of years. Closing in 2007 before being demolished in 2009 the move to invest in recreation and tourism has not only resulted in a change of use but seen the emergence of a totally new customer.
"Should power to our wave generators fail for whatever reason we wouldn't be able to operate," explained Andy Ainscough, Managing Director for Surf Snowdonia. "Rather than run the risk of having to turn away surfers - damaging our reputation and income, bringing in Quartzelec's HV authorised people to complete a thorough substation inspection made both commercial and economic sense. This gives us a clearer picture of how our electrical supply system is performing so that we don't have any surprises. Plus it means that any maintenance can be scheduled at a time to suit us."
Another business that appreciates the long term benefits of an ongoing Quartzelec HV maintenance contract is Leyland Trucks, based near Preston. They use state-of-the-art technology to design and assemble vehicles and like so many other businesses are dependent on power for every aspect of the process.
Their management team has just committed to a five-year intensive SAP based operation, maintenance and emergency response schedule from Quartzelec. In addition to undertaking general inspections of a whole host of HV installations and systems; ranging from the general condition of substations, various HV circuit breakers and transformers it also covers low voltage switchboards and air circuit breakers. As part of the process oil samples from transformers will be collected annually and taken away for routine and dissolved gases analysis, to monitor their overall condition. Partial discharge tests will also be performed on various systems to again monitor their condition and look for signs of adverse wear that could impact equipment performance or result in a catastrophic failure leading to production downtime and expensive replacement costs.
"In each of these examples our expertise and experience means that our customers receive a quality service with all the necessary accreditation and required authority to safely work on the HV systems," concluded Malcolm Harding. "Having appropriate maintenance contracts along with associated insurance policies in place means that businesses can operate safely in the knowledge that they are better protected should anything untoward occur."
Quartzelec, as a leading independent electrical engineering contractor, can deliver cost effective 'one-off' inspection services by Senior Authorised Engineers through to scheduled maintenance programmes and emergency response services for LV and HV electrical installations across the UK.