Duke Energy supplies and delivers energy to approximately 4 million customers via 1,400 distribution stations across five states, making it one of the largest electric power companies in the nation.
According to Jim Wilson, Reliability and Integrity Planning Specialist with Duke Energy, protecting substations in such a large territory from animal damage was difficult. Raccoons, squirrels and snakes were responsible for repeat damage at “problem” substations, resulting in service disruptions, extra man-hours and expensive repairs.
According to Wilson, who tracks reliability of substation systems, it was not unusual for the most heavily affected substations to experience an average of one outage each year as a result of animal contact. With so many customers dependent on uninterrupted service, Duke wanted to find a way to protect the most “at-risk” facilities and address problems quickly when they arose.
“There had been quite a few various attempts at improved fencing and other deterrent measures,” Wilson says. “And we had varying levels of success.”
In 2001, Duke installed its first TransGard fence and, since that time, has installed more than 80. Animal-resistant fence systems have proven to be the most successful climbing animal deterrent solution Duke has employed to date, according to Wilson.
In addition to protection their fences provide, Wilson said TransGard offered other critical advantages: service and speed.
“The time between the call to request a fence installation and having it fully functional has been as short as a few weeks,” Wilson says. “TransGard is always prepared with materials and personnel to respond quickly to a request when one occurs. They provided as many installers as we needed to do the job, or they made it possible for our own technicians to do the installation themselves.”
All of this is critical to maintaining the highest possible level of service for Duke’s customers. “If you place a dollar value on reliability for our customers, this is often an investment well worth making,” Wilson says. “Being able to eliminate an annual outage for a station feeding thousands of customers can easily justify the cost.”