Temporary power consultancy to the events industry
it is important to manage electrical safety and there are plenty of guides and standards for the design of protection systems. However it is also necessary to ensure that a design is done, verified and documented. And this is where the management aspect comes in. For a simple electrical installation, the management is likely ot be straightforward. But when a venue might host shows or events organised by others the lines become blurred, especially for long running west-end shows. Equally festivals and similar events usually have multiple contractors, each organising their own power distribution with a backbone and supplies put in by a different contractor. Existing legislation such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Construction, Design and Management Regulations require that work activities are co-ordinated. With electrical systems, that is very important: the safety of a contractors system may well rely on the protection installed by others. For events this is outlined in BS 7909:2011 Code of practice for temporary electrical systems for entertainment and related purposes. It requires that all events have an SPR working with the production team to ensure the electrical systems are safe and suitable. In other words, that they have been designed and put together correctly. Venues and rental companies also should have management policies relevant to what they undertake. If they hire equipment, how often is it checked? Who’s using it and how often? What level of risk is there to the equipment?Venues also need to be aware of their duties to manage the electrical systems and infrastructure they own or are responsible for. It may all be outsourced to a Facilities Management contractor, but the contractor should be aware of what is expected of them.
Analysis of equipment using thermography can be a tangible cost saving measure. Early on-set of problems in installations such as poorly tightened connections are easily checked - often with no need to disconnect power supplies. Preventative maintenance can then be planned and costs of equipment failure (both hardware and event cancellation) can be saved. Event cancellation and delay can cost all the production team and promoters money. As modern equipment puts more of a hidden strain on temporary electrical distributions systems, failure of cabling and infrastructure can strike at any time. Lost neutrals caused by harmonic overheating are becoming more common for example and while proper system design can help mitigate these measures, thermography is a tool that can rapidly help check and diagnose systems in real time, Thermography is a tool that is incredibly useful for both installation condition monitoring as well as for event power systems.
Power Quality Analysis
The plethora of modern energy efficient equipment in use today (from LED lights and video screens to digital amplifiers) puts a hidden strain on both permanent and temporary power infrastructure - while the overall power consumption may be lower, power quality issues are getting worse. Phenomena such as leading power factors are causing new problems for generator suppliers, harmonics can give rise to overheating neutral conductors, poor use and understanding of RCDs means that such devices do not always provide the protection they are expected to. Venues have obligations with the electricity supplier to keep power quality disturbances to a minimum of which many are unaware. Problems can range from the innocuous such as buzzing dimmers to unexpected operation of circuit breakers or overheating of equipment such as motors and cables. Efficiency can also be problematical leading to spending more money on diesel or the network operator than necessary.