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Extreme Weather Response – Washington D.C.

Challenge

A critical substation outside of Washington, D.C., was given a scheduled window of 72 hours to complete a breaker replacement on a section of 230kV bus, or else face daily fines of $10,000 per day.

With less than 36 hours left, the contractor realized the utility did not order enough 3” Bus connectors to meet the original design plan.

To further complicate matters, a strong storm cell poured rain throughout this particular weekend with more torrential rain expected in the form of Hurricane Florence.  Initial forecast models projected the Category 4 Hurricane to directly hit the beltway. A state of emergency for the entire District of Columbia was declared just two days after the project deadline.

Finding these connectors, installing during the storm, and finishing this project on time – and before the next storm – were all absolutely critical.

Solution

DMC Power connectors are the utility standard and the contractor was a 15-year DMC Power user, so they knew who to turn to. Our Territory Manager had visited this particular substation as well as the onsite crew at other locations numerous times to conduct trainings and regular jobsite check-ins.

The call came in on the morning of Saturday, September 8th with a brief rundown to understand the scope of the project. Within minutes our Territory Manager guaranteed DMC Power could help both parties meet their deadlines.

This was not a lucky accident.

First, because of our long relationship with the contractor and utilities engineering department, the coordination required to approve the design modification was able to occur without delay.  Quotes, purchase orders, invoicing – all that paperwork would be dealt with on Monday. Getting the connectors installed was priority #1.

Second, DMC Power has strategically located facilities through North America with hundreds of different connector sizes and configurations on the shelf and ready to ship. Our East Coast Headquarters are less than two hours from this job site. While final design modifications were being made, our Territory Manager drove to our facility to pack and stage the connectors and tooling ahead of a 6:30 a.m. Sunday start time.

(3) PLK1850D56B
3.5" Center Formed Terminal
(3) PLK1150D56
3.5" 90° Transverse Pad Tee

Results

The designs were updated and logistics coordinated to perfection with the contractor.  A brief training refresher was conducted with the 6-man crew. When the Swage Tooling and Bus connectors arrived onsite, they went right to work.

In the midst of an extreme thunderstorm, the pressure of costly fines and a Category 4 hurricane on the horizon, the contractors were able to Swage the connectors with ease. The final repairs were complete and the site was back online well before the scheduled maintenance was over.  Most importantly, the crews returned home safely that evening to prepare for their next challenge.

 

"As of COB today, the 230kv bus has been modified to maintain a new phase to ground clearance of 86”. As some of you may know, there were some material incompatibility issues that arose yesterday. We scrambled yesterday to get new/correct DMC fittings and tooling for the existing bus. I would like to thank [DMC Power, Contractor and Utility], and my crew onsite for coming together, and going above and beyond, to get this work done safely over the rainy weekend." - Foreman, E&I Division

NOTE: Hurricane Florence eventually made landfall in the Carolinas as a Category 1 storm, but still causing widespread damage and loss of life. Please consider joining DMC Power by making a charitable donation to the approved disaster relief fund.