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Infrared technology helps catch possible problems early

Infrared technology helps catch possible problems early

On a typical August afternoon in Oklahoma, it’s hard not to find a “hot spot” when the sun is beating down. However, a service the Grand River Dam Authority offers its electricity customers is helping to find a certain kind of hot spot that often goes unnoticed until it is too late. 

For several years now, GRDA has used a handheld FLIR (forward looking infrared camera) to see what the human eye simply cannot see: loose connections in electric substations that can cause breakers, transformers and other components to overheat. When the viewfinder is pinpointed on a certain location, the camera can display the temperature of that location. That technology makes it much easier to diagnose potential problems. GRDA also uses the infrared technology to inspect buildings to locate areas where heat and energy is being lost due to poor insulation or sealing.

With the FLIR camera, GRDA can gather a wealth of information about the substations, lines and other components used to meet the electricity needs of its customers. That information is then shared with GRDA crews or our customer crews and repairs can be made before problems occur.

Of course, when those problems can be spotted early, the repair can be much simpler – and much less expensive – than those times when the problem makes itself known the hard way. In such instances, the result could be lengthy, complicated repairs, possibly coupled with an extended outage.

Whether the customer is an Oklahoma public power community, one of the industries GRDA serves in the MidAmerica Industrial Park, or at another location, reliability and energy efficiency are vital to their operations. Infrared imaging allows GRDA to maintain that level of service while delivering affordable, reliable electricity to its customers.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency. 

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