(OT?) Australia - Dairies in electricity supply check

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Dairies in electricity supply check

POWERCOR will install monitoring devices at selected premises - including dairy farms - across south-west Victoria as part of a $500,000 program.

The permanent devices will monitor voltage levels and detect power surges and faults. They will also provide data so that proposed work on power lines servicing the region's dairy industries can be listed in order of priority.

Powercor media relations manager Mary Tait yesterday said 350 of the devices would be installed across Powercor's service area this year. Seventy-five of them would be in the south-west and installation would begin in a few months.

"The ultimate advantage is that the program will help us plan for the future. If we find the (demand for power) is increasing, we can plan works to develop the network," she said. "It will enable us to zero in on faults and measure voltage levels and help improve the quality of the electricity supply in the service area."

The devices, called DCI Sentry, would be installed on customers' meter boards and send data through the telephone line.

Project manager Gavin Parkinson said a number of them would be placed in dairy areas to provide data for the dairy industry program.

"It will be very useful for the south-west infrastructure upgrade. Other customers have been chosen in locations that will help us isolate specific areas in the event of a fault," Mr Parkinson said.

Ms Tait said the information would take about 10 seconds to transmit to the Powercor control room and would not be charged to a customer's telephone bill.

Macarthur businessman Allan Bunworth said the device at his place had kept the telephone line busy for part of the afternoon, which had been a disturbance.

Mr Bunworth, who runs a tyre service in the town, said that despite the minor problem he would be happy to keep on using the new technology to assist Powercor.

"Mine's been disconnected for a while. It stopped the phone working at 3.15pm each day," he said. "They can leave it here as long as they like, as long as there is a plug to enable me to disconnect it if I have the same sort of trouble."

Kathy McDonald, of Mailors Flat said she had no trouble during the trial period and would let her device operate permanently.

"It really hasn't affected us at all. It just sends a signal to Powercor to let them know if there has been any power surges or if the power is off," she said.
. . . (Report: KRISTY HESS)


This article tabled as general awareness. It's an interesting initiative. Makes you wonder why it wasn't taken before.

Regards from Down Under

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), February 15, 2000


Yeah...a power surge during milking could be a real mooooving experience for the poor cow! (Sorry about the pun, but it could be painful...)

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), February 16, 2000.

I can't even begin to guess at the electric motor maintenance bills that are being incurred. Motors don't generally tolerate extended low voltage situations all that well, especially some appliance motors.

Suspect that the dairy industry is being singled out because of food production and because that milk absolutely must be cooled right down and kept cool until the truck arrives to haul it out. They could easily be talking hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk -- takes a bit of juice to cool all that down, especially in Summer weather. Sure makes a godawful mess if you have to dump that much!

As Pieter continues to post these articles, I find myself thinking about the electrical deregulation occurring across the U.S. and impending here in Ohio. Also thinking about what it might be like here, in a few months, if Solar Max does a number on our grids and the standby plants have to use diesel at $ 3.00/gallon or better.

-- redeye in ohio (not@work.com), February 16, 2000.

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