Water district simplifies load bank testing of standby generators for Critical Operations Power Systems

ESL Power Systems' new TripleSwitch™ system uses three interlocked disconnects to isolate standby generator circuits during COPS load bank testing for water and waste water treatment facilities.

Jan 12th, 2010

CORONA, CA, Jan. 12, 2010 -- ESL Power Systems' new TripleSwitch™ system uses three interlocked disconnects to isolate standby generator circuits during COPS load bank testing for water and waste water treatment facilities. The unique design also provides a quick, safe method to connect to a portable generator for redundant backup power.

TripleSwitch delivers increased worker safety and peace of mind for facility MRO managers by eliminating the need to manually disconnect and re-tighten cable terminal connections on breakers that are best tightened once. Instead, TripleSwitch's interlocked switching allows a quick and safe twist lock Cam connection without the need for tools.

Public utilities, including water/wastewater treatment plants are among the facilities for which a disruption of the electrical power service is absolutely unacceptable. Article 708 of the National Electrical Code (NEC®) defines these areas as Designated Critical Operations Areas (DCOA) - areas within a facility or site that require critical operations power. The NEC® Article 708 also defines Critical Operations Power Systems as "power systems for facilities or parts of facilities that require continuous operation for the reasons of public safety, emergency management, national security, or business continuity."

Because of their critical nature, DCOA operations at water and waste treatment typically rely on emergency power generation systems as a back-up in case of power loss from the grid. DCOAs are mandated by NEC Article 708 and NFPA 110 to regularly test their emergency power systems in order to ensure their reliability.

One such utility is responsible for delivering the clean drinking water and waste water treatment services that are essential to over 330,000 people in California. In order to safeguard that vital pumping stations and purification facilities remain operational, the water district maintains 28 permanently installed electrical generators spread across a 179-square mile service area.

Recently, the water district's electrical maintenance manager decided to use ESL Power Systems' new TripleSwitch to dramatically improve the method used to test emergency power backup for the facility's Critical Operations Systems (COPS) during routine annual load bank testing of the permanent generators.

According to Randy Carsten, Sales Manager for ESL, load bank testing is absolutely critical to ensure proper COPS emergency operation. "Load bank testing of permanently installed generators assures that the generator will function properly if the grid power is lost."

Load Bank Testing is Safely Simplified with a flip of the TripleSwitch™
In order to streamline regular load bank testing of DCOA back-up power systems, ESL Power Systems has introduced TripleSwitch, a newly developed electrical disconnect product designed to dramatically simplify the method used to test emergency backup generators for Critical Operations Systems (COPS).

"The electrical maintenance manager for the water district was seeking an easier and safer way to complete their load bank testing. We proposed applying our TripleSwitch safety-interlocking switching technology that utilizes a cam-style electrical solution that is suitable for quick connection of backup portable generators, as well as load bank testing of permanent generators."

Before the TripleSwitch became available, the water/wastewater treatment facility had planned to purchase two large 400Amp knife edge switches to support their load bank testing. This solution presented drawbacks such as the lack of overcurrent protection and/or risk of fuse replacement during critical times. Additionally, interlocking would be a cumbersome task.

Tom Zinchuk, Manager of Engineering for ESL, worked closely with the customer's staff to introduce the TripleSwitch cam-style electrical solution. "The TripleSwitch product line was developed to provide a centralized and convenient means to disconnect a permanent generator from an ATS, while at the same time allowing the permanent generator to be connected to a load bank, and a second emergency generator to be temporarily connected to the ATS," explained Zinchuk. "This is a typical preventive maintenance application for any location that employs a permanent generator with an ATS. However, the TripleSwitch would work in any application where there is a need to safely disconnect certain power generation units from each other, while easily connecting other alternative power sources."

Michael Hellmers, President of ESL, explained that the TripleSwitch affords operators a simple and efficient solution. "Our unique TripleSwitch design has a much lower cost, a smaller footprint, and virtually eliminates wiring mistakes under emergency situations," said Hellmers.

The TripleSwitch line, which is available with current ratings from 70 Amps to 800 Amps, and voltage ratings up to and including 600VAC, promotes increased safety, security and flexibility, while delivering a very cost-effective and easy to use solution.

About ESL Power Systems Inc.
ESL Power Systems Inc. (www.eslpwr.com) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of modular safety-interlocked electrical power connections, including ESL's StormSwitch™ Manual Transfer Switch (www.stormswitch.com) with integrated cams. ESL also develops customized power distribution systems for many diverse industrial applications where safety, dependability, and durability are required.

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