power cables at sunset

Power companies must consider a lot to ensure the successful, consistent operation of an electrical grid, and transmission lines are just one part of that system. Power transmission lines are used for electricity to be transported from generation sources (such as wind or solar farms, coal, or natural gas power plants) to its destination (like your home or business). They must meet technical specifications that obey the laws of physics as well as deal with what nature throws at them, whether it be lightning strikes or critters bent on chewing through that wire. Various strategies can be implemented to minimize such risks to service continuity, but why are components, specifically transmission lines, so important?

How Are Transmission Lines Composed?

Each line run is made up of a small bundle of copper wires encased inside a larger bundle of aluminum wires of varying thickness. Depending on the voltage transmitted, the aluminum wires range between 34 and 38 millimeters. Groupings of such lines are then suspended in an arrangement from a series of transmission towers. Towers will have differing designs depending on the voltage being transmitted across them but generally, the bigger the tower, the higher the voltage.

How Do Transmission Systems Work?

Between the electricity source and its destination are transmission and local distribution substations. Step-up transformers near the source increase voltage for long-distance transmission, while step-down transformers reduce the voltage for consumption by customers. Between these two points, transmission lines must be isolated electrically from the ground by use of pylons, which are the thin vertical structures by which the lines hang beneath the arms of the towers. There are typically two electrical circuits traveling along transmission towers so that a backup is still functioning if one circuit goes down, hopefully ensuring service continuance for customers. Additionally, lines are run along each tower, which are not used for transmitting electricity but to protect the towers themselves from lightning strikes instead.

Everything works together and smoothly to ensure electricity can get to customers, but often, power can be interrupted from squirrel and other critter damage to transmission lines from unprotected lines. To find out how to ensure greater continuance of service for your power grid with Critter Guard systems, contact us today.