The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a nonprofit international organization whose mission is to assure reliability of bulk power systems in North America. NERC PRC-005-2 is the standard for Protection Systems Maintenance and Testing. Part of this standard requires utilities to monitor electrolyte levels and temperatures. According to NERC, electrolyte levels need to be inspected and recorded every four months for VLA and NiCad batteries. For large power utilities, stationary battery sites can be spaced apart, therefore inspecting and monitoring these batteries can take up a large number of hours. With an electrolyte level monitoring system, you could increase your return on investment.
NERC PRC-005-2 requires utility companies to visit the sites every four months to inspect that:
- The system voltage is at the correct level
- There are no unintentional ground faults
- Electrolyte levels are above minimum level
As long as each of these are monitored remotely, then it is not required to visit the site each period for inspection. A majority of charger systems have upper and lower voltage alarms, and many have built in ground fault monitoring, both of which can be remotely monitored. If this is the case, then the only requirement for the site visit is to inspect electrolyte levels. If chargers do not have a ground fault monitor built in, Eagle Eye Power Solutions offers the GFM-100 Battery Ground Fault Monitor. You can utilize an electrolyte level monitoring system to monitor the battery electrolyte level and temperature remotely. Once it is installed, the requirement is removed, and the number of scheduled inspection visits to the site are reduced from every four months to every 18 months.
Sending a service truck and technician out to each site to inspect each individual battery cell takes a lot of time at a high cost. Several variables go into a service truck roll: the wage for the technician, and fuel and maintenance for the truck. The cost of testing is equal to the number of minutes spent testing electrolyte levels x number of sites x number inspections per year.
For example, the technician could spend 120 minutes inspecting the electrolyte levels (and including drive time to and from the site) in 300 sites every four months. This comes out to 120 minutes x 300 sites x 3 times per year. This equals 108,000 minutes a year, or 1800 hours of just the technician’s labor hours. This multiplied by a $65.00 per hour wage equals $117,000. With Eagle Eye’s ELM-Series Battery Electrolyte Level and Temperature Monitoring system, this cost will be eliminated with the 24/7/365 remote monitoring done by the ELM. Contact us to request a quote.