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PIERRE, S.D. – In the cold months especially, the City of Pierre Electric Department staff grabs a gun and hits the streets to hunt for savings.
The weapon of choice? An infrared heat gun. It’s a device that scans all of the City’s electrical infrastructure and identifies pieces of equipment that are radiating too much heat. A hot spot is an indicator that an equipment failure is possible.
“Prevention is the name of the game,” said Ryan Grant, Electrical Superintendent. “If we can prevent outages, it saves our customers money and saves the department time.”
Throughout the year, the Electric Department “guns” all of the city-owned electric department devices to identify problems. This review includes everything from substations to a transformer –those green boxes you might see in your backyard. While staff is working on devices, they routinely check them for problems. Any devices that don’t get reviewed during the course of general work, get gunned during the winter.
Grant says that the Electric Department has been utilizing a heat gun to test its devices for more than a decade and that each year it saves the taxpayers thousands of dollars.
“If we can prevent one device from failure, we eliminate the need for emergency response. That removes the need for emergency purchases, overtime, and any collateral damage that comes as a result of the failure,” said Grant. “Prevention is just good practice. It keeps the lights on and minimizes costs.”