2023 / Transmission

Manitoba Hydro's innovative live line maintenance methods

Manitoba Hydro supplies energy to the province of Manitoba and neighbouring utilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario and the United States. The Manitoba Hydro power system comprises over 11,000 kilometers of transmission lines with both High Voltage Direct Current and High Voltage Alternating Current up to 500,000 volts. Manitoba Hydro uses live line methods to maintain its transmission lines, which offers several benefits, including avoiding outages, enhancing performance, providing cost savings, and increasing reliability in the power system.

Recently, Manitoba Hydro utilized Class D helicopter hoist methods to upgrade transmission insulators from polymer to glass while energized in a remote north central location of Manitoba. The live line crews developed a novel method to change the insulators after being flown to the tubular tower utilizing newly developed extruded jacket insulating ropes with ladders, conductive suits and hot sticks.

These methods allowed Manitoba Hydro to change the insulators on 227 structures in 21 days of flying while avoiding up to 60 half-day outages to the 12 communities on the radial 138 kV line. The benefits of these methods include access to remote areas, reduced environmental footprints and biosecurity concerns, increased efficiency, increased worker morale and skill sets, and cost savings.

Manitoba Hydro has also developed a first of its kind all-insulating rope access system, which allows for the access of structures and energized conductors from the ground by shooting an insulating pilot line over the equipment to install the system. The worker can then be lifted to carry out the task at hand while being protected by a backup system. The Class D helicopter and rope access methods are expected to be used more extensively in the future due to biosecurity concerns with conventional equipment.

These methods have demonstrated their effectiveness in remote areas and difficult terrains, making them essential for maintaining the transmission system's reliability and accessibility, while providing optimum customer service.

Manitoba Hydro

Manitoba Hydro Waterways Management Program

Newfoundland Power Inc.

Newfoundland Power’s electronic tailboard solution