Arc Flash Incident – 13.8 kV Indoor Switchgear

Melted Bolts at Main Bus Joint

An indoor 13.8kV Vacuum Circuit Breaker switchgear has an arc flash incident this week. Investigation results showed that the wet weather increased the humidity inside the switchroom, incomplete covering of bus bar joints (as-built condition), 20 year old equipment and aggravated by the failure of exhaust blowers and defective substation doors.

It was fortunate that there were no casualties nor damages on other equipment during the incident.

As there were no available spares of bus bar cover, the alternative was to wrap the joints with high voltage tape to ensure that there are no bare bus bars or bolts. The cleaning, testing and restoration of the 13.8KV switchgear took about 48 hours prior to power up.

About the Author

Ver Pangonilo
A Filipino Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) - Australia and Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) - Philippines with extensive experience in concept select, front-end engineering, HV & LV detail design, construction and commissioning of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Area electrical installations in water and waste water pipeline and pumping facilities, offshore platforms, hydrocarbon process plants and pipelines including related facilities. Hazardous area classification and design certification (UEENEEM015B, UEENEEM016B, UEENEEM017B).
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