Overcoming Vendor Delays on Substation Breakers

April 29, 2020

A few weeks before coronavirus began disrupting daily life in the United States, it was wreaking havoc on the global supply chain, especially for products manufactured and shipped from China. A generation owner in southern Texas was notified that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its new substation breakers would not be delivered as promised. These breakers were instrumental for the in-servicing (energization) of their equipment. And with construction crews already onsite and more projects waiting in the queue, an extended delay in the multi-million-dollar project was not an option.

The generation owner did not have the in-house resources necessary to circumvent this logistics problem, so they turned to Ulteig for a solution.

Since Ulteig had a long-standing partnership with the client, engineers were familiar with their extensive energy operation and were able to quickly devise a plan to get a majority of their lines energized. The team developed several documents and schematics that identified the most critical pieces of equipment needed to energize each line. Then they brought the engineering, operation and construction teams to the table to discuss how to move forward.

As a solution, Ulteig engineers created a strategy that involved relocating existing substation breakers to critical lines so the majority of the lines could be energized. Since the project spanned over 5+ substations, they were able to re-direct the delayed breaker deliveries from China to other locations on the grid as arrival dates were staggered throughout the year.

Ulteig engineers were able to get the valuable line operational by piecing together which orders could be delivered in time for construction and creating drawings showing which equipment was critical to get installed. Construction crews are being kept productive and the client will be able to energize 95% of their assets on time.

At Ulteig, we listen carefully to a clientā€™s unique business needs to help us develop real solutions that deliver true value.

Power Statement of Qualifications

By Wyatt Knepper, Technical Manager

Wyatt is a Technical Manager in the Substation Department. He has led and engineered greenfield and retrofit substations for 11 years.Ā He is experienced with large-project portfolio leadership; developing value-add client solutions; overseeing hands-on pre-commissioning/commissioning project in-servicing; developing critical outage sequencing plans, detailed physical design, detailed protection and control design; organizing finalized material lists; and creating detailed fabrication documents. Wyatt prioritizes his time mentoring new team members, overseeing large-scale project system capital expansions, and supporting new efficiency implementation ideas.

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