Inspectioneering
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Hydro Plant Maintenance and Showcasing Successful Runner Upgrades

Interview with Tony Billiard, Maintenance Supervisor, Idaho Power, Hagerman Area

October 4, 2013

Hydro plants are growing older. Being the first source of renewable power, it is imperative that these plants be kept up-to-date. Traditional issues are becoming refocused as equipment upgrades and new technology come into play. An industry is coming together to face new regulations to prompt maintenance and pre-empt dam failure.

Tony Billiard, Maintenance Supervisor, Idaho Power, Hagerman Area answered a series of questions written by marcus evans before the forthcoming 3rd Hydro Plant Maintenance and Reliability Conference November 5-7, 2013. All responses represent the view of Mr. Billiard and not necessarily those of Idaho Power, Hagerman Area.

When going about mitigating instillation obstacles, what are the key steps to follow?

TB: Scheduling enough time for the crews to safely and efficiently install the new runner and the associated parts is key to a successful replacement. The procurement of materials and equipment can be a major obstacle depending on lead times for installation. A step that can make a job easier is proper scoping meetings at least a year in advance; this can minimize the headaches associated with vendors and suppliers. Having the same maintenance personnel on site doing the teardown, as well as installation of the generating unit, is very important.

What major concerns are taken into consideration when identifying the appropriate maintenance opportunity?

TB: With any runner upgrade there is significant cost in performing the work, securing equipment, and the lost generations associated with the outage. We try to schedule our runner replacements when the power prices are the lowest, the spring runoff is over, and we have the manpower available to do the work. Project scoping documents and meetings are taking place well in advance of the actual work to insure that all of the bases are covered. During the scoping meetings, budgets and costs are estimated. Then, with budget approval, the contract process starts with the turbine manufacturer. This typically takes at least a year in order to have a new runner ready for installation.

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