Power transmission cos remove GE equipment after explosions in Brazil

GE Power China

Several power transmission companies in Brazil have started removing General Electric (GE) equipment after a number of explosions, Reuters reported.

Brazil’s grid operator ONS recommended replacing GE’s CTH-550 transformer model after reporting 53 explosions. ONS said that the equipment showed a failure rate that is superior to what is expected for such a device.

There are close to 700 pieces of that equipment in Brazil’s grid, each costing up to 100,000 reais or $26,000. Power transmission companies have launched tenders to buy replacement transformers while they discuss the costs and a schedule for the changes with GE and regulators.

GE in a statement to Reuters said it is investigating what caused the equipment failure in Brazil.

“GE Grid Solutions performed a series of checks in the equipment with its clients and, as of this moment, there is no evidence that the problems were caused by the design, components or production processes,” it said.

Brazil’s electrical energy regulator Aneel said that the problem is with the manufacturer.

“The transmission companies acquired a product which has presented a high rate of failure,” Aneel director Sandoval Feitosa told Reuters.

Taesa said it has started replacing all GE model CTH-550 transformers in its networks.

Taesa’s CEO Raul Lycurgo Leite said the changes will be completed next year, adding that it will take time due to the buying process and coordinated grid work.

China’s State Grid Corp, which expanded in Brazil, has plans to make the changes, but did not provide further details.

Other companies such as Furnas and Copel have opened tenders to buy new transformers.

These companies are also negotiating with Brazil’s electricity regulator Aneel to have some fines suspended. They were fined due to interruption in the flow of power after the explosions and say they are not responsible for the outages.