Even though, the idea of hotline or Live-line maintenance on High Voltage transmission and distribution lines have been made possible today by the development of modern special tools and techniques which are internationally accepted for such high risk works, in order to reduce power interruptions to consumers, however am not sure if Ghana has upgraded itself to using Hotline special tools and techniques for maintenance of its gridlines, to avoid some of these unexpected power interruptions and load shedding.
I know few African Countries, such as Kenya, South Africa ad others, have adopted the Hotline maintenance techniques for Live-Lines repairs/maintenance on their power systems, and this has significantly reduced the frequent power cuts meant for repairs and maintenance by over 65%.
I don’t know if GRIDCo/ECG can boost of telescopic boom lifts for high reach for linemen, special designed helicopters for lines inspections.. readily available for emergency hotline repairs, upgrades and maintenance.
There’s a great socioeconomic reason for investment in such modern technique to help work on live-lines, with the aim of reducing the number of times the service is interrupted, or the number of outages, so as to increase productivity and improve lives.
Although using hotline method is more hazardous for personnel / Engineers than working on electrical equipment with the power off, but live-line maintenance has become good technique used in the power transmission and distribution industry to avoid the disruption and high economic costs of having to turn off power to customers to perform essential periodic maintenance on transmission lines and other equipment, especially, in the advanced countries where unacceptable number of power interruptions would be unpleasantly questioned and possibly investigated for compensation.
In fact, it must be paramountly understood that uninterrupted power supply is essential to maintain the transmission lines in trim and healthy condition.
Unlike the preventive and predictive maintenance at low voltage installations where a customer can plan for Cold Maintenance Method in which supply can completely be switched off during the maintenance works, the application of Hot-Line method on transmission lines maintenance and repairs increases customers satisfaction as interruptions are drastically reduced.
In fact, the regular (monkey) thorough line patrolling with digital photography of the line components, testing of punctured insulator, replacement of disc insulators, tightening of nut bolts of power connectors, providing parallel jumper, Hot Line Washing of Insulator strings can all be carried out today using the modern hotline techniques, and I would recommend that Ghana invest in the idea, to improve on power supply.
I do not think anyone can disagree agree today that, Electrical Power, in the short span of two centuries, has become an indispensable part of our modern day life. Our work, leisure, healthcare, economy, and our very livelihood depend on a constant supply of electrical power.
Reliable, efficient and quality energy supply holds the key to the development of every country today.
Ing. Peter Antwi Boasiako.