Safety is a prominent concern when handling all electrical equipment. Mainstream behaviour in what relates to safe handling of electrical equipment has barely changed in the past number of decades. The electrical industry accepts flooding, fire and electric shock risks as limiting our design of electrical systems. This is instead of risk motivating our design creativity. Why are we accepting of these risks if we could design around them?
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety ,“All electrical systems have the potential to cause harm”, and “The voltage of the electricity and the available electrical current in regular businesses and homes has enough power to cause death by electrocution”. The specificity of which this utility defines risk timelines is an example of our complacency in this matter.
Hydro Quebec advises on safety protocols regarding these accepted risks before flooding enters a basement, while flooding enters a basement, and even when flooding goes down in a basement.
The Government of New Brunswick warns the public, “Do not energize any electrical equipment if it has been under water. These items may work and appear safe but once they have been under water, they could cause electrocution or fire”.
The damages of electrical safety transgress fire and electrocution and include economic disruptions to businesses, institutions, and emergency personnel. What if we could design our electrical systems to be flood-resistant, touch-proof, and location-flexible to overcome current limitations? We need to change our mindset regarding these limitations in order to overcome them with smart designs. These new designs need to be mega-safe, and they need to reduce maintenance by making safety a priority instead of an accepted area of limitation. We at Power Systems Technology are proposing a Green Distributed Power System (Green DPS) solution and would like to hear from players in the industry including contractors, developers, engineers, owners, and our governments. We feel strongly that it is time to re-think our traditional power system designs to eliminate or at least minimize some of these risks.
The Canadian government recognizes flooding as a recurring national issue that we can all agree poses fundamental safety risks for the entire population and the overall economy. Our Governments also recognize that climate change related weather consequences are becoming more frequent. The need for our industry to discuss how we can alter our designs to better meet our current, and future powering needs feels immediate.
We want to do more to prioritize safety by overcoming accepted design limitations. Join us to share your experiences and ideas on this journey.