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Life Estimation and Extension for Distribution System Equipment

Effective management and life extension of Distribution assets.

Project Objectives

In the achievement of cost-effective asset management, determining the end-of-life for Distribution System components and establishing methods to extend equipment life, are important factors.

Kinectrics helps system owners identify the most appropriate end-of-life criteria for individual Distribution System components and recommends effective ways to utilize and extend equipment life. We provide North American utility clients with thorough analyses of how different end-of-life criteria affect reliability, safety, and long-term costs.

On this particular project, objectives included determining the suitability of equipment for end-of-life monitoring, developing a prioritized plan for evaluating system components, and providing recommendations for appropriate monitoring techniques.


In numerous life extension estimation projects, varying end-of-life criteria and its effects on cost, safety, and service reliability have been assessed for many Distribution components. 

In one asset life extension study for a major North American Distribution utility which dealt with the establishment of end-of-life criteria, specific recommendations were made for end-of-life parameters for each component. Some of the general conclusions of this work included:

  • The most common end-of-life parameters recommended were failure rate, visual condition, relative cost of repair, and obsolescence. All major components have additional end-of-life criteria specific to the component.
  • Many components do not require an end-of-life parameter. The cost, safety and reliability effects are small enough that it is most economic to run these components to failure. Capacitors, secondary cables, distribution transformers, lightning arresters (other than in stations), pole top hardware, batteries, and fuses were found to be in the “run-to-failure” category.
  • The largest cost impacts were attributed to underground cables and splices, guy wires and anchors, overhead conductors, breakers, and voltage regulators.
  • The largest safety effects were related to guy wires and anchors, and elbows and bushings.
  • The largest reliability effects occur on station transformers and insulators.
  • Non-technical end-of-life criteria applicable to most components include visual condition, obsolescence, and the cost of repair per year being greater than 10% of the replacement cost.