Power outages due to inherent vulnerability to transient short circuit circumstances
A power outage (also called a power cut, a power out, a power blackout, power failure or a blackout) is a short-term or a long-term loss of the electric power to a particular area.
There are many causes of power failures in an electricity network. Examples of these causes include faults at power stations, damage to electric transmission lines, substations or other parts of the distribution system, a short circuit, cascading failure, fuse or circuit breaker operation.
Power failures are particularly critical at sites where the environment and public safety are at risk. Institutions such as hospitals, sewage treatment plants, mines, shelters and the like will usually have backup power sources such as standby generators, which will automatically start up when electrical power is lost.
Other critical systems, such as telecommunication, are also required to have emergency power. The battery room of a telephone exchange usually has arrays of lead–acid batteries for backup and also a socket for connecting a generator during extended periods of outage.
Helium-filled balloons - A unusual causation phenomena of power outages
Helium-filled balloons have been blamed for causing hundreds of train delays for passengers across the UK each year.
Rail operators highlight the growing problem. One operator reports 619 balloon-related incidents - many dangerous - across England, Scotland and Wales.
Many incidents involve balloons getting tangled in high-voltage overhead wires, causing delays while the electricity is switched off and the lines made safe and damage due to irregular malfunction of electrical equipment.
As well as the safety risks and the delays to train passengers, rail operators estimate the annual cost of this problem to the British taxpayer is around £1m a year.
An incident is reported at Smethwick Rolfe Street Station, in the West Midlands, when a float-away helium balloon got wrapped around the overhead wires. Hundreds of train passengers were delayed, and the cost of delays from this incident was significant.
Eur Ing Dr Robert Brown (Robert) is the Executive Director of Fraser George and Associates Limited and is a Consultant and Forensic Engineer in the fields Electrical Electronic and Control Engineering.
Robert is an accomplished professional Expert Witness having prepared and presented many court compliant reports and presented oral evidence within the High Court, Crown Courts and County Courts.
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