Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. It retails electricity to about 700,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers as well as local and municipal government for the lighting of public streets and highways.
Wildlife outages ranked as Westar’s second-leading cause of outages primarily from European Starlings, but also from Eurasian doves, owls, hawks, squirrels, snakes and larger mammals such as raccoons. A generic cover-up product was initially selected as a potential solution; however, the outages continued.
At five key substations, bird and animal-caused outages resulted in an average of 500,000 Customer Interruption Minutes annually, and Westar knew their customers expected and deserved better.
“In 2013, Westar selected five substations where we expected Greenjacket would provide the most benefit. In the three years leading up to that, animal and bird-caused customer outage minutes at those five locations averaged about 500,000 annually. In 2014, after Greenjacket was installed those outage minutes dropped significantly to 50,000, and then to zero minutes in 2015.”
Dave Claussen, Westar Executive Director System Maintenance
In addition to the precise-fit solution applied to existing substation equipment, Greenjacket Inc’s design team worked to develop barriers for their 12kV gang-operated disconnects. The barriers are mounted to the support structure between each phase of the disconnects without affecting their operation. With the barriers in place, phase-to-phase contacts by birds and animals are prevented. Westar is considering adding the new product as a standard mitigation measure going forward.
“Greenjacket has proved to be a valuable investment and an effective solution in reducing wildlife-caused outages at Westar. Their thorough approach to surveying and applying coverage at vulnerable locations coupled with detailed installation practices have yielded a precise–fit coverage option that has significantly improved customer reliability where it has been applied.”
Bryson Cyphers, Director of Substation Maintenance
In October of 2017, Dave Claussen, Executive Director System Maintenance, made a presentation to the Westar T&D Summit where it was identified that Greenjacket had an impact of reducing wildlife contacts by 95% at 20 stations where Greenjacket was deployed… See the Full Case Study!