PUD 3 Reliability

PUD 3 Reliability

Connecting our community with Safe, Reliable, Economical, and Sustainable Services, 24/7 requires a robust inspection program to identify developing issues in deployed equipment so they can be remedied in a planned and controlled manner.

Electrical equipment is exposed to the full range of harsh weather and environmental conditions in Mason County. The very nature of their service is to conduct or support, literally, powerful energy, which can wear on and break down the electrical components. The equipment must be of rugged construction and in good shape for continued safe and reliable operation. While designed for a long service life, over time and through exposure and use, utility equipment may begin to develop vulnerabilities and be exposed to damage. Therefore, it is imperative that PUD 3’s qualified workers conduct systematic and scheduled inspections to uncover issues that need to be addressed. 

Meter & Gateway Inspections - Need Access to Private Property

Even though the PUD has transitioned to remotely reading meters for billing, we still regularly visually inspect active and inactive meters, meter bases, seals, telecommunications gateways, and other PUD equipment in the field for safety and adherence to the PUD’s Service Rules and Regulations.

The PUD has over 34,000 meters and this inspection process takes time. For that reason, you may see PUD employees on your property at some point in the upcoming year. Of course, we know strangers on your property can be unsettling, so PUD employees performing this work will always wear a safety vest, arrive in a PUD logo vehicle, and have their identification badge on them. If you are unsure, you can always ask to see their identification or you can call our customer service department to see if someone is expected to be in your area.

Since this work is ongoing and sometimes done in conjunction with other work in the area, customers will not necessarily know when the PUD inspection will take place. Remember to ensure the PUD has the ability to access its equipment on your property – especially behind locked gates. You can arrange to drop off gate keys at one of our offices or provide access codes to our customer service department. Your safety and the security of your property are important to our team and will be handled with the upmost care and concern.

Pole Inspection

It is industry standard to test and treat wood poles every 10 years which lines up with the dissipation of the initial pole preservation treatment that needs to be replenished. Since poles in our region are subject to heavy rain, wind, sloping ground, damage caused by insects, falling limbs or trees, and/or the occasional hit-and-run from vehicles, the goal is to visit every pole in a continuing 10-year cycle. This is a safety measure as well. Poles that are not safe for linemen to climb are marked with a warning and are noted as priority to replace.

The bonus to this project is while the inspector is on site, they also perform a visual inspection of any other equipment on the pole and capture images from ground-level. Not only does this part of the inspection find unrelated hazards and/or maintenance needs, it also provides valuable information for the engineering and operations teams - saving them a trip into the field before working in an area, thus creating significant efficiencies. 

Substation Inspection

The PUD has a substation preventative maintenance, inspection, and testing plan which allows trained personnel to regularly ensure the safe and efficient operations of these very expensive substations and transformers, which supply power to thousands of customers.  

System Inspection

PUD trained staff perform detailed inspections of electrical equipment deployed in the field and report issues discovered for either planned or emergency replacement. They also make field corrections in labeling, locking mechanisms, vegetation clearing, etc., as possible. The work is often performed by the most senior journeyman lineman at the utility. Their many years of experience constructing, repairing, and operating the system is invaluable when it comes to inspection and repair of overhead and underground facilities. They inspect Overhead and Underground Lines (feeders), Transmission Circuits, Cabinets, Pedestals, Vaults, and many other misellaneous facilities and equipment.

Infrared Inspections

Annually, the PUD performs an infrared energy (heat signature) inspection on electrical components of the system. This work is done at night during the cold fall and winter months when the system sees its largest electrical loads. The infrared gun scans for breakdowns in materials or defects in connections that cause excess heat (infrared energy) to build up in electrical components such as lightning arrestors, fused cutouts, conductor splices, cable terminators, taps, and jumper wire. Identifying these potential failures in equipment helps the PUD perform maintenance during normal workdays and avoids emergency outages for customers. All substations, transmission structures, and three-phase feeder structures are scanned every year.

Mason PUD 3 is recognized as one of the most reliable utilities in the nation by the American Public Power Association (APPA) Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation.

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