The field transformer crew working at the Erin, Tennessee substation probably saved IPS from losing another transformer at the substation and possibly the entire yard. This is the substation that had the bushing failure and fire a few weeks ago that took Cumberland off line. The crew is made up of T. R. Smith (foreman), Bob Sawyer, Richard Moreland. and Anthony Harmon.
T. R. was operating the purivac Saturday night, processing the oil on the transformer that had the bushing failure and fire. They heard a frying sound and realized something must be arcing. The other transformer that was stiU in service is beside the one they were working on. The other transformer was heavily loaded and TPS was running the sprinklers to keep it cool. We turned off the sprinkler and noticed that the arcing sound quit. At about 11:00 pm, the load came back up and the sprinklers were turned back on. When the water was turned on, the arcing sound resumed. T. R. called the Nashville dispatcher and notified him of the problem. The dispatcher told him to leave the sprinklers off, that the load should be coming down. Sunday morning, Andy Todd, the TPS area manager came to the yard and T. R. briefed him on what had happened. An outage was planned for 3:00 pm to take the transformer off line and tie in the mobile transformer, which had been brought to the substation following the first transformer failure. T. R. told Andy that if it started raining, the transformer would probably blow. At about 2:00 pm, it started to rain. T. R. was watching the transformer from underneath the front of the purivac trailer. The
161 kv bushing lit up, arcing from the bushing to the transformer tank. T. R. started running away and when a TPS employee in the control room saw him running, he killed the entire yard. Had the bushing exploded, it could have taken the rest of the yard with it, including the mobile transfomer, not to mention the potential for injury to personnel. Our people work in some dangerous situations and working in a switchyard under these conditions is one of the most dangerous.
Cumberland was not affected this time. They had been notified about what was going on and were closing watching the situation. last Friday T. R. Smith informed me they were planing their final outage for August 21st or 22 and that it will take at least 8 hr's of hard work if its done in the daytime and longer if at night . Earlier this week Cecil Baggett at Merriweather Lewis did not know when the exact time would be but that they would post it in the Stewart Houston Times. This reporter would like to thank these fine folks for their hard work.Below is a few of the pictures of the damaged tranformer for a larger version just click on the picture.
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