engineering intelligent solutions

Case Study: UK Power Networks

Case Study: UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks delivers electricity across London, the East and South East of England, serving eight million customers and covering just under 30,000 square kilometres.


The challenge

To meet increased demand from customers, especially in rural areas, UK Power Networks is constantly improving its network infrastructure to increase reliability of power transmission efficiency, and to minimise costs. In particular, the company wanted to improve the performance of its switchgear equipment in electricity substations, by updating approximately 3,000 switchgear units.

Due to the resilience of switchgear equipment, a significant proportion of the UK’s existing switchgear infrastructure is several decades old, however it still easily operates at optimum levels. Replacing the equipment which UK Power Networks owns would therefore have been expensive, as well as unnecessary, so a different solution had to be reached.

It was a sizeable project, and UK Power Networks had a limited budget and needed the work completed without interrupting customers’ power supplies.

UK Power Networks chose Lucy Electric because of its skills and expertise in medium voltage switchgear particularly in retrofitting Lucy Switchgear products and other legacy manufacturers’ switchgear.

 

Our solution

Lucy Electric began the process by retrofitting approximately 1,400 switchgear ring main units  (RMUs) with actuator kits.

This allowed for each unit to be automated and controlled remotely at a central control station, thereby enabling UK Power Networks’ technical teams to monitor the electrical distribution network and locate faults within seconds, rather than the hours potentially required by manual fault detection, particularly in rural areas.

Through the process, faults are isolated from the central control centre and rectified with minimal interruption to the distribution network, thereby limiting the impact on customers as well as helping UK Power Networks to meet their customer lost minutes targets.

Lucy Electric’s retrofitting process also meant that existing infrastructure could be retrofitted while the electricity is still live, again lessening the impact on customers and the pressures on the network.

A number of the retrofit kits were made bespoke for the project by Lucy Electric so as to operate and modernise equipment developed by other manufacturers, while other RMUs utilised existing Lucy Electric designs. The full list of equipment used is listed below:

  • Lucy Electric FRMU Right Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  • (Lucy Part No: THM0025424)

  • Lucy Electric FRMU Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  • (Lucy Part No: THM0025423)

  • Lucy Electric FRMU Right Hand and Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  • (Lucy Part No: THM0025425)

  •  Long & Crawford T3GF3/T4GF3 Right Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025444)

  •  Long & Crawford T3GF3/T4GF3 Right Hand and Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025446)

  •  Long & Crawford T3GF3/T4GF3 Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025441)

  •  Long & Crawford J3/J4 Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  • (Lucy Part No: THM0025439)

  • Reyrolle JS Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  • (Lucy Part No: THM0025438)

  • Lucy Electric SABRE 1/2 Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025428)

  •  Lucy Electric SABRE 1/2 Right Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025430)

  •  Lucy Switchgear SABRE 1/2 Right Hand and Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025434)

  •  Brush NSM Right Hand and Left Hand (plus new NSM Door) Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025437)

  •  Brush NSM Right Hand (plus new NSM Door) Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025436)

  •  Brush NSM Left Hand (plus new NSM Door) Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025435)

  •  Lucy Switchgear SABRE VRN2a Right Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025420)

  •  Lucy Switchgear SABRE VRN2a Left Hand Automation Retrofit Actuator Kit

  •  (Lucy Part No: THM0025422)

 

Outcome

The automation project maximised the asset life of UK Power Networks’ installed asset base and resulted in significant cost savings due to the benefits of retrofitting rather than replacing the existing equipment.

It has also led to a more reliable network, as the automation process means faults can be identified and isolated in less than 3 minutes, significantly reducing the length of power cuts and keeping response times under the regulator, Ofgem’s, targets.

Employing a retrofit solution also saved the company planning and implementation time. The entire automation project took less than 18 months to complete, whereas it is estimated that replacing the switchgear would have taken approximately 3 years.

 "Lucy Electric’s knowledge and flexibility were key to allowing us to meet our targets. Their automation equipment, in-depth switchgear knowledge and project management experience has made a significant difference to our operations, and to our customers.” UK Power Networks

 


 Related products

 Retrofit_thumbnail.jpgRetrofit


 Trident_thumbnail.jpgTrident

Registered No. 1179461 England | © Lucy Electric 1999-2017