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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Aclara SmartClose Capacitor Switch Used by Electric Cooperative to Solve Power Quality Issues at Amusement Park

November 14, 2019 GMT
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ST. LOUIS, Nov. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC), Branson, Mo., recently used Trinetics™ SmartClose capacitor switches from Aclara, part of Hubbell Power Systems’ family of brands and a leading supplier of smart infrastructure solutions (SIS) to electric, gas and water utilities worldwide, to eliminate surges caused by high charging currents of capacitor banks. The surges caused over-voltage transients that were shutting down a popular ride operated by one of the utility’s customers.

The transients, caused by capacitor bank switching, became a problem when the Silver Dollar City Theme Park installed its Outlaw Run roller coaster. The operation of the roller coaster (large motor load) caused two large capacitor banks to switch in to offset the large inductive load. However, the switching of two large capacitor banks resulted in high charging currents. These presented themselves as a short-duration fault, subsequently blowing the fuses and shutting down power to the ride.

More details on the problem and WRVEC’s solution are detailed in a new case study .

The utility solved the problem by installing a SmartClose synchronous zero-voltage close capacitor switch, which is guaranteed to always close at the zero-voltage point on each of the three phases of alternating current electric power. This helped eliminate the over-voltage transients, and as a result reduced the high charging currents.

“The SmartClose switch ensures that our capacitor switching operations are not going to cause any issues for the newer high-tech control systems that are going to be on that ride,” said Reiny Cash, chief engineer at WRVEC.

“The SmartClose is unique because it is a plug and play, factory-calibrated switch. Other zero-voltage solutions in the market are field-calibrated switches that require a special zero-voltage controller in addition to the capacitor bank controller,” said Balaji Santhanam, product manager at Aclara for distribution automation products. “Due to the added complexity, these solutions are inaccurate and substantially increases the cost of training, installation and commissioning.”

Cash said the SmartClose not only solved the problem but was also easy to install. He added that the utility plans on expanding use of the switch on another capacitor bank in the park.

“The fact that this switch is packaged as a plug-and-play assembly where the end user really does not have to know anything more about it is, I think, the biggest benefit,” said Cash. “We are getting another one of these SmartClose switches to use on another capacitor bank serving the park,” Cash said.

Download the case study for more details on how to solve the problem of over-voltage transients.

About Aclara

Aclara, now part of the Hubbell Power Systems’ family of brands, is a world-class supplier of smart infrastructure solutions (SIS) and services to more than 1,000 water, gas, and electric utilities globally. Aclara SIS offerings include smart meters and other field devices, advanced metering infrastructure and software and services that enable utilities to predict and respond to conditions, leverage their distribution networks effectively, and engage with their customers. Aclara was recently recognized for its vision and end-to-end solution strategy by Navigant research, won a Frost & Sullivan Global Smart Energy Networks Enabling Technology Leadership Award and was named a finalist in three categories of the Platts Global Energy Awards. Visit us at Aclara.com, follow us on Twitter @AclaraSolutions or subscribe to our blog.

About Hubbell Power Systems

Hubbell Power Systems, Inc. (HPS) is a subsidiary of Hubbell Incorporated and an international manufacturer of quality transmission, distribution, substation, OEM and telecommunications products for a broad range of non-residential and residential construction and electric, gas and water utility applications. With revenues of $1.1 billion, HPS operates manufacturing facilities in the United States and around the world. The headquarters is located in Columbia, South Carolina.

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