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 Post subject: Utility SC Data Contact Information
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:07 am
Posts: 1
Hello Everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster.

As everyone here knows, getting the correct short circuit contribution values from the utility is one of the many important pieces of information we must obtain to get realistic arc flash values. I'm based out of NC and getting this information from the local utility is not difficult, since the company that I work for knows engineers in the utility who usually know what you are talking about and help you get to the right person. After so many times we know exactly who to go to.

My problem has started now with doing arc flash studies outside of NC, where I need to get the same information from the utility in that state (recently SCE&G); I call customer support and explain what I need to get, and I can just picture the "deer-in-the-headlights" look on the other side of the line. This usually gets me a promise of call back from someone with more knowledge in this, which never happens. I ask to speak to someone in engineering, but I need to know a name and extension number or else is "against procedure" to let me talk to anyone in engineering. It's is quite frustrating.

What everyone's experience getting this information?

Also thought of getting this thread to share information of utility contact information for everyone to have access to instead of spending hours digging to get to the right person.

Thanks,


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 Post subject: Re: Utility SC Data Contact Information
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 823
Location: Rutland, VT
Depends on how large the customer is but sometimes utilities will assign a customer service rep to that customer. That can be a place to start.

Otherwise, make sure you document who you talk to, when, contact extension number, etc. Then if you don't hear back from them you can call. After several times, ask to speak to their supervisor. I have had success with that.

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Barry Donovan, P.E.
www.workplacesafetysolutions.com


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 Post subject: Re: Utility SC Data Contact Information
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:08 am
Posts: 2174
Location: North Carolina
Barry hit it on the head. The problem is that I'd say 95%+ of the calls made to utilities come from residential customers. So the "customer service" group is focused almost entirely on handling this kind of call. They should handle it differently if/when they recognize the call is an industrial customer but even then most of those calls are going to be about billing, meter readings, etc. The call handling group is almost always very insulated from operations, engineering, and maintenance. The other groups work with each other all the time INTERNALLY so it gets much easier once you get to the "back office".

Also although the question is becoming more routine and as of 2015, even the utilities themselves are now doing arc flash studies, don't expect that especially small rural utilities or even the larger ones with rural offices even have the resources to answer the question. Utilities struggle particularly with trying to identify short circuit especially when the customer owns the substation because most of them use network distribution and the configuration of the network at the time of the fault determines short circuit which is constantly changing. SCCR from a utility is nice in theory but it's a crap shoot for practical reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Utility SC Data Contact Information
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:18 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:08 am
Posts: 2
I definitely feel that same pain that jcanelo86 does !
Most of my work is done in and around a couple of the major cities in the NE and unless you have a direct contact in the utilities district engineering offices that you can ask the questions through the back door, It's almost like beating your head against a wall to get SC info for a site.

I was doing studies for a major cities Water & Sewer Department and they would take at least 30-45 days with daily calls to get the SC info because my requests had to be in writing for specific feeds identified and routed through the W&S department to Homeland Security for approval before the electric utility could give me the information.

Try explain that to a client that wants you to justify your price to update an incomplete outdated Arc Flash study.


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 Post subject: Re: Utility SC Data Contact Information
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:43 am
Posts: 177
Location: Colorado
One thing that can help is ask for an engineer or the engineering manager to call you back. Sometimes using technical jargon will get you past the customer rep and into engineering (I have done it a time or two but not often). sometimes there are just rules you need to follow such as filling a form or request and then you get the engineer


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 Post subject: Re: Utility SC Data Contact Information
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 9:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:00 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Maple Valley, WA.
I feel your pain! This has always been an issue for us on the West Coast. In fact, it seems to be getting worse instead of better. We have had several utilities refuse to provide the information due to liability reasons. They state that their distribution system changes all the time and there is no way to provide an accurate value of maximum and minimum fault current.

To make it even worse, some utilities are now charging us and we have to pay them a fee so that they can tell us what the maximum secondary fault current and transformer data will be. And...usually the secondary fault current is based upon infinite primary fault current.

The utilities need to do their job and provide this correct data to their customers!

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Robert Fuhr, P.E.; P.Eng.
PowerStudies


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