A correctional facility is a place where downtime of power is not an option. If the lights go out at a correctional facility and the backup power does not work it can cause big problems and many safety concerns. A correctional facility in Michigan called on UIS to check on why the lights on the MV lineup were very dim. Upon arrival, the UIS technician went right to work and after the technician’s inspection, the client was correct. Upon further investigation, the client only had about 50 volts going to the dim lights when it should have been 125 volts DC. This is what was causing the lights to be so dim. Further investigation and troubleshooting was pursued by the UIS tech. The problem with DC power was found. All 60 cells lead-acid battery system fluid was below and a few were completely empty of any electro light. This was causing the dimming of the facility lights.

The first thing UIS decided to do once the situation was explained to the client was to offer an immediate solution. UIS filled all batteries with proper electro light and after a proper time frame to allow them to charge UIS tech checked the voltage of the entire system and each cell and the complete battery system was in need of replacement due to extreme lack of maintenance. The estimated cost to replace the battery set was around $20,000. While waiting for the delivery of the replacement battery UIS installed a temporary battery set that they had on hand that allowed proper operation of MV switchgear and kept the facility safe from power loss and downtime.

If UIS would not have been called to the correctional facility for the dim lights there could have been big problems. In this failed state the breaker would not have been able to open or close properly. Thus the auto-transfer system between the main and generator backups would not have operated correctly. This could have left the entire correctional facility in the dark and without power as required. In addition, if the system would have failed the protective relays would not have been able to operate and open the breakers correctly to open the fault. This could have resulted in personal injury, death, accessive equipment damage, and even fire. It could have lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. 

UIS recommends regular maintenance of the electrical equipment and battery backup system. This will help to prevent electrical power failure and will avoid the battery system fluid from becoming empty again. Proper maintenance could have helped this correctional facility avoid the $20,000 cost to replace the battery set. You can budget for maintenance but you can’t budget for emergencies.