Technical reduction of system loss-A A +A
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
FOR ordinary consumers, the term “system loss” most often comes alien. I myself would grope for words to laymanize it to my neighbors particularly that kind of loss that occurs in the electric distribution system itself. It’s okay for non-technical system loss, we could easily translate it to mean theft of power by human beings, be it intentional or not. It’s the technical system loss that is quite hard to explain. Good we have electrical engineers to rely on.
The occurrence of technical system loss is inherent in electric distribution. In fact, such loss is indispensable to the flow of electricity due to what is known as resistance. System loss does not only happen in the primary and secondary distribution lines. There’s also loss in kwh meters as well as power and distribution transformers.
The dare for electric cooperatives is to reduce system loss, both technical and non-technical. A reduced system loss means less electricity is getting lost or wasted your electric cooperative is always on its feet to address non-technical system loss. Of course, its responsibility to combat technical system loss has remained a priority. It calls for measures to be set in place in the system to curb technical losses.
We were not surprised then when the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has inked a pact with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for a system loss reduction project for select ECs in the country. The Jica held a consultative workshop with BENECO to evaluate the latter’s own technical system loss reduction program.
The engineering department’s report was very encouraging. Engr. Melchor Licoben, department manager, said that a review of the system loss reduction manual provided by Jica showed that two of them are already on board for Beneco. First is the upgrading of 7.62 kV distribution transformers to 23 kV and the second is the use of amorphous transformers in lieu of the traditional silicon core distribution transformers.
Licoben said the Jica manual validated the cooperative’s decision to adopt these measures shunned by other ECs due to prohibitive costs or the sheer lack of technical competence or lack of forecast on its economic edge.
At the moment, the EC has 23 kV transformers installed at its Irisan, Beckel and North Sanitary Camp power stations. It was in 1977 when the EC decided to use this kind of voltage transformers patterned from the 23 kV system of the National Power Corporation (NPC) at Beckel then.
The chubby Engr. Caloy Andres of the engineering department took pains to answer me categorically on how a 23 kV transformer and an amorphous core transformer would help reduce system loss. He said that compared to a 7.62 kV transformer, the 23 kV assures an increased voltage that could significantly reduce system loss. For a distribution utility with a dominant captive market like Baguio City, the use of the 23 kV is just perfect.
The same holds through with the use of amorphous core transformer. Studies have proven that replacing the grain oriented silicon steel in the transformer cores with amorphous metal could considerably result to lower losses.
I and Caloy went to inspect a dead transformer down at our warehouse in Alapang to see how a transformer core, silicon wrap and an amorphous paper look like. Well, I learned. At least, now I know how a transformer looks like from the inside.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 20, 2013.