The end of summer for workers of power electrical stations is the time to complete repairs. In November first cold and snow will test their readiness for the next winter season. Generally speaking they do everything in order to make our homes bright and warm.
Today we’ll visit the central substation of the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOS).
The system operator has three main functions : transfer (inter-regional and international transit), process control and balance of the electric power system.
The branch of inter-regional electricity networks KEGOC in Akmolinsk is one of the largest (the territory of Kazakhstan is divided between nine branches of IEN). This is 4,200 kilometers of high voltage air lines, among which there is a record holder for extra-high voltage (1150 kV).
All incoming, consumed, produced and passing electricity is clearly visible on the panel (a large block display) of the regional dispatch center. The purpose of controllers is to maintain the energy balance, or in other words, the quality of electricity.
The ideal frequency is that of 50 hertz. If consumption is greater than generation, then frequency decreases and it becomes necessary to compensate it. A schedule of energy supply is made beforehand. But it happens that enterprises give some figures in applications, but in reality those figures are bigger. In such cases power stations have to rise generation level or to limit perpetrators.
Each line has its own color of a voltage class. Blue is for 500 kV, green – 220 kV. De-energized parts, sent for repairs glow on the screen with the yellow color.
Controllers work all day long, four people in two shifts. The job of a manager is the constant concentration. It is necessary to make a right decision in a short period of time, so workers always feel responsible for people and equipment that are in operational management.
Previously, everything was in one hand. Today generators operate separately, power transmission and dispatching are in hands of the state, and deliver to consumers is made by regional companies.
Electricity arrives in Astana by transit lines with 220 and 500 kV from Ekibastuz and from its own source – town heat stations. Transformers convert voltage to 220, then from 110 to 10 kV and only in such form electricity is fed into the town network.
The central city reducing substation is considered to be the most technologically modern. After the first stage of modernization, modern equipment was installed – automated control systems, relay protection devices. For example, oil and air circuit breakers are now replaced by gas ones.
They do not need compressor stations and dozens of tons of oil. After upgrading the cost of equipment maintenance has decreased 4 times.
Repairs on power lines begin with spring days and last until late October. Firstly an examination is held. Inspection should verify safety of bearing assemblies and integrity of insulators and conductors. Then a schedule of repairs is made.
Sometimes bearing assemblies need adapting. In winter, when moisture on wires is high, ice may form on them, which increases the load for dozens of times.
Business trips of wiremen last from 10 to 20 days, and there is a short time to see relatives. A brigade consists of six people on the average.
As workers say, the main thing is a sense of pride from the fact that they work for a reason. The fruits of their work are not only lights in windows, but also locomotives, smoking pipes of plants.
Digging a drill from a hole with the depth of three meters.
While pulling out the drill, crossbeams (metal structures on which insulators and conductors are mounted) are attached to a new support.
At the end the drill is free.
Now it is time to rest a little.
Each brigade has its own cook. Daily menu is rather various – borsch, sandwiches with cheese, zucchini in batter, nautical pasta (macaroni with meat), etc.
Wiremen are a special kind of power engineers. Not every man can work in severe conditions away from civilization and all conveniences. So this profession should be chosen only consciously. Working in the desert, where there is only open space, they feel freedom and independence. Of course, there is a sense of responsibility – the work must be done accurately, professionally and promptly.