Transformer failure impacts business continuity: MIDEL Report

Screen Shot 2018 11 05 at 8.20.06 PMTransformer failure threatens business continuity and is the biggest concern for more than 80 per cent of professionals, according to a new MIDEL study titled MIDEL Transformer Risk Report

MIDEL, a brand of ester-based transformer fluids, launched industrial research to determine whether a transformer failure could affect business continuity.

The report revealed that six in 10 respondents had experienced transformer failure in the last five years, while 5 in 10 said transformer failure would significantly impact or halt their businesses’ operations.

Barry Menzies, managing director global of MIDEL, said, “Transformers are critical components of our electricity infrastructure, but the impact and extent of transformer failure are not widely documented.

“The MIDEL Transformer Risk Report shines a light on transformer failure and the findings are clear: it has a significant and prolonged impact on businesses. An interruption to business operations can be very expensive, demonstrate poor corporate social responsibility and impact business continuity,” he added.

“The good news is that many of the causes of transformer failure are largely within the operators’ control. It’s relatively straightforward to replace old equipment and components and upgrade maintenance regimes; however, the survey suggests a level of concern that indicates industry needs to think more strategically about asset management and dedicate more resources to mitigating the risk of failure,” Menzies explained.

By surveying professionals from original equipment manufacturers, industry consultants and transmission and distribution operators, the company aims to improve the industry's understanding of transformer failure, a critical but often overlooked part of the power infrastructure.

The resulting report assesses the impact, levels of concern and general industry attitudes towards transformer failure.

The report indicated that many businesses’ operations would be hugely disrupted in the event of a failure. Notably, 71 per cent of respondents indicated it would take in excess of three days to reinstate power supply following a transformer failure, with 11 per cent of respondents saying it could take six months or more.

The quality of equipment and components is considered as a top option for reducing transformer risk by 87 per cent of respondents, followed by maintenance schedules (76 per cent) indicating the importance of considering transformer failure from the outset.

The maintenance of transformers, or the lack thereof, was cited as the top cause for concern by respondents (61 per cent), while nearly 70 per cent said driving down operating and maintenance costs is a key motivator for improving transformer performance, indicating a potential conflict when it comes to cost versus maintenance scheduling, the report stated.

“Safety will always be a top priority but operations and maintenance also weigh heavily on transformer owners and operators. Companies are feeling the strain of ongoing operation and maintenance costs, which worries them as they recognise the importance of a good O&M regime” continued Menzies.

Nearly 80 per cent said planned maintenance is a top measure for protecting the environment around transformers, with containment structures (65 per cent) and biodegradable transformer fluids (61 per cent) as the next most popular options.

“Transformer failure risk is taken very seriously, and it stands to reason that transformer owners and operators would do everything in their power to reduce it,” Menzies concluded.

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