With farmers considering energy efficiency upgrades and working close to power lines, it is always important to consider and practice electrical safety not just in the lead up to Christmas but always.
Power lines on farms
Ergon’s electrical safety project provides an interactive map and links to dial before you dig, exclusion zones, safety videos and various electrical forms, should work need to be carried out near power lines. Check it out at lookupandlive.com.au and if you would like to order copies of Ergon’s safety packs, brochures or stickers, click HERE.
To prevent electrical incidents on farm it is recommended that regular maintenance is carried out. Safety switches should be checked by auto tripping to ensure the device is operating correctly. Long term, operating time and current tests should be applied. Testing and tagging on specified electrical equipment of not more than 20 amps should be performed on all leads. This shall be performed by competent and trained electrical personnel every 12 months for rural work.
Faulty equipment and product recalls
Faulty electrical equipment has the potential to cause significant damage to infrastructure and people. It is important that consumers are aware that recalled items should not be used as they pose a risk of electric shock, fire or property damage. If you own or use a recalled item, contact your local electrician, in most cases a replacement is installed free of charge, more information can be viewed HERE.
Installation of additional electrical equipment can overload power circuits and lead to reduced energy efficiency. Fires can result due to faulty isolators and overloaded circuits. Signs and symptoms to look out for include dimming lights, scorched power points and premature burning out of equipment. Heat losses will increase due to rises in current from reduced voltage on the circuit. Upgrading the circuit using larger cable sizes, new equipment or load balancing on three phase circuits can rectify some issues onsite.
Where losses occur due to inductive loads, for example motors and HID lighting, power factor correction (PFC) may be installed at the point of supply. Where there are many loads, and long cable runs, it may be worthwhile considering PFC at each load site. Low power factor can result in significant costs, as well as affecting the performance and lifetime of components. QFF’s audit program showed the potential of a poultry farm to save on excess demand charges. From a capital spend of $36,000 an annual saving of $9,347 with a payback of 3.6 years would be seen, more information on power factor can be found HERE.
For more information on electrical safety around the farm, visit the Worksafe Queensland website: Working near electricity.
The Energy Savers Project Extension is run by the Queensland Farmers Federation with the support of the Queensland Government, you can read more about the project here: https://www.qff.org.au/projects/energy-savers/.
If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.