Electrical services - what to look for when choosing a contractor

20 min
Kompleksowe usługi elektroenergetyczne oferowane przez renomowaną firmę z branży elektroenergetycznej - eltelnetworks.pl

Today's reality is unreasonable without electricity. The demand for electric power services continues to grow, yet we know little about how electricity is generated and transmitted on a daily basis. The construction of the entire energy infrastructure is a complex and difficult process, as is the maintenance of existing installations, so these tasks should be entrusted to professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in the creation and operation of energy networks. What to look for when choosing an electric power company?

Comprehensive Electrical Services and More

A wide range, complexity of services and possibilities offered by the company makes it possible to be sure that the whole investment will be realized in cooperation with one contractor offering the "turnkey" system (design and build). This form of work greatly streamlines the entire process. Renowned companies operating in the power and telecommunications network sector offer a full range of services, including design, implementation and operation of lines, substations and industrial systems.

Designing Stage

The decision to start a project is preceded by a feasibility study. Such a preliminary investment appraisal is essential in the decision-making process due to the objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the project, possible technical solutions, including an analysis of potential risks and opportunities - which in turn is an important element allowing to estimate the investment costs. The designing stage, as the first pillar of energy services, includes, but is not limited to:

  • formal and legal issues: investment location analysis, obtaining necessary permits, including obtaining consent of property owners and permits to enter the site (right-of-way), administrative decisions, etc
  • designing of electrical power systems: e.g., transmission lines and substations for low, medium, high and extra-high voltage
  • designs of ICT networks, fibre optic networks, broadband networks taking into account various boundary conditions, including existing infrastructure
  • designs of ICT networks, fibre optic networks, broadband networks taking into account various boundary conditions, including existing infrastructure
  • designs of photovoltaic and energy storage systems together with management systems for energy generation and distribution
  • design of large-scale wind and photovoltaic farms
  • designs for necessary infrastructure and structures, e.g., lattice/tube columns with foundations, cubature structures, civil part, etc.
  • instant designs to restore infrastructure that has been affected, e.g., as a result of a breakdown
  • development of cutting and/or planting plans together with a set of necessary permits
  • optimize solutions to make them compact, cost-effective, and yet meet standards and technical requirements

Implementation Stage

Implementation stage includes all activities related to supplies and physical realization of the project. Implementation of both the design and the electrical services should be entrusted to an entity using modern methods and tools in its work: photogrammetry, laser scanning (LiDAR), spatial thermal imaging, use of drones, etc. (more on this later in the article).

A contractor should be looked at holistically. The implementation of an energy project is a combination of engineering and legal expertise, as well as competent executive resources and negotiating and organizational skills. In addition, an asset of any electric utility company (especially during the execution phase of a project) is the ability to operate in emergency situations. This includes efficiently finding effective technical solutions for unforeseen events and proposing solutions that provide maximum comfort and safety for the client during the life of the facility/installation.

Operation Stage

Operation Stage - more important than it seems. It may be surprising to some, how critical it is to keep the infrastructure already built in perfect condition. Relatively small expenditures on maintenance allow to control the condition of equipment and power infrastructure, early detection of pre-failure conditions, or even prevention of potential failures. A professional electrical contracting company provides network operation services to the extent necessary to keep a given infrastructure in excellent working condition, and key scopes performed include:

  • operational inspections of lines and substation equipment
  • replacement of necessary parts and consumables
  • measurements and diagnostic tests of power installations and devices
  • locating and eliminating possible failures or pre-failure conditions
  • replacement/repair/periodic maintenance of structures and equipment

Electricity Services and the Use of New Technologies

Access to state-of-the-art technology and work methods is an extremely important feature of valued electric utility companies and a good guideline when choosing an electric partner. The dynamic development of this sector means that the use of the latest scientific and technical capabilities allows for quick and safe execution of the order. What means can be used in this extent?

  • Drones - recently used, are efficiently performing visual inspections and surveys of various power installations. They also do some of the work in the construction process: suspending lead wires, installing bird divertes on live lines, or hanging warning and information signs on wires. Their tasks also include creating a photographic map of the area (called an orthophotomap).
  • Laser Scanning - enables efficient spatial mapping of power infrastructure, structural deformation studies, volume measurements and imaging of existing vegetation within the structure. A type of scanning is also Spatial Thermal Imaging, which allows thermal inspection of a large portion of the power system at once.
  • Energy Storage - growing amount of energy generated from renewable sources requires storage and skilful management. Storage facilities provide emergency supply in the event of a power outage for priority customers or backup power for their own needs. The latest developments in the design and construction of energy storage facilities include the 3S technology (SunSmartStore), which is perfectly in line with the ecological approach based on the use of RES and renewable energy management.
Instalacja elektroenergetyczna budowana w oparciu o najnowsze technologie - eltelnetworks.pl

Modern electrical services involve smart use of available technology. Here a drone dragging a suspension wire over the Nogat River, 110 kV line.

Flexibility and New Challenges

The electric power industry places many challenges on contractors. The best electrical services companies can also be recognized by their courage in completing custom projects. They require out-of-the-box thinking, creative approaches to produce optimal solutions for both parties. Going beyond the established pattern and one's own comfort zone is an important indication that a company is taking risks in overcoming the obstacles it encounters and consistently pursuing its goals.

Image, References, Guarantees, Timeliness

Taking care of one's own image is one thing, but customers speak for the company as well. An entity that can boast of successful realizations in cooperation with many companies in and outside the country is definitely a trustworthy partner. Of course, the final choice of contractor is usually a product of many considerations. The key factor is usually the budget of the entire project, which, however, should not overshadow important quality aspects. Timely completion of work with the best contractors is a top priority. The project management process itself is also significant to deliver the investment task on time. It is often correlated with financing or other larger investments, so mismanagement of the project could negate the whole thing. The forecast of future cooperation is also influenced by the condition of the company - its market stability supported by guarantees (bank or insurers). High safety standards and quality and environmental control systems should also be taken into account when planning future cooperation. Signing a contract, preceded by a careful analysis of the potential business partner, prevents possible disappointments and claims by either party.

Author: Tomasz Kopiec