Alaska Lineman, Engineer to Present First-Trip Testing Session

A shortage of funding, people and time makes it important to find problems with circuit breakers to prevent outages, “before those outages find you,” according to Steven Cannon, substation lineman at Chugach Electric in Anchorage Alaska.

Cannon will present the “Circuit Breaker First Trip Testing” session at the 2009 Finepoint Circuit Breaker Test and Maintenance Training Conference in October.

Cannon will share his experience with first trip testing in a unique environment. “It’s a harsh environment. Alaska is one of the rare places on the earth where one can experience up to 90°F and down to -60°F in the same year,” he said. “This weather puts great strain on outside equipment and lets us really see what these breakers can take.”

The session will cover the following areas:

  • Why coil analysis
  • Trip latch timing
  • a/b contact operation
  • Internal lubrication
  • Main operator analysis
  • DC supply voltage problems

“Chugach is a great testing area,” Cannon said. “They use a wide variety of breakers with different brands to different voltages from different eras. This diversity provides us with an extensive library of knowledge.”

Participants in the “First Trip Testing” session should come away with a better approach to finding problems with circuit breakers to help prevent outages, which makes a more reliable grid.

Cannon’s enthusiasm for his work will fit the Finepoint venue well. ”This conference is geared to the people who actually work on the equipment. It is these people who will be using this equipment in the field to help them find the problems that exist,” he said.

Cannon also enjoys working outside better than in the office. He had worked at Matanuska Electric Association for three construction seasons as an engineering technician, but then applied to the IBEW lineman apprentice program. After earning his Journeyman Lineman ticket, he joined Chugach Electric and moved into the substation department where he has been ever since.

He was born in Okinawa, Japan, while his father was in the military. He was raised in Texas where he became interested in power generation when he would visit the massive power plants where his father worked. He studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M University before he transferred to the University of Alaska as a civil engineering student.

“Circuit Breaker First Trip Testing” is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 8.

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