The energy industry and other industries can learn a few things from the recent incident involving Berkshire Power Co. (BPC) and Power Plant Management Services (PPMS) at BPC’s gas-fired plant in Massachusetts. Earlier this month, the companies agreed to plead guilty and pay millions of dollars in fines on felony charges that plant workers submitted false information and tampered with emissions control monitors. This incident shows how not paying attention to your plant’s remote monitoring and diagnostic systems can lead to big problems with serious consequences.

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A PowerEngineering article reports MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg said, “Reporting environmental information accurately is essential to state and federal efforts to improve air quality. Cases where information is misrepresented will be pursued to the fullest extend to protect the integrity of our air quality programs.” We’re not exactly sure what type of monitoring system, if any, was in place at BPC. But maybe a properly managed remote monitoring and diagnostic system for the gas turbines and other plant equipment could have prevented this incident.

In another report, an energy industry insider said, “In an era where information is power and computational data is vital to plant operators, monitoring and diagnostic systems are supporting the operation of industrial gas turbines worldwide.” Not only do they help with government reporting requirements, monitoring and diagnostic systems “increase the reliability of turbines powered by natural gas, providing early warning and fault diagnostics… The systems also can monitor and assist in maintaining the turbine performance.”

The same report explains how a remote monitoring and diagnostics system for gas turbines works, using a utility company as an example. “The utility company uses the same system via the internet to monitor all turbines remotely, and the system can send diagnostic messages to cell phones and email reports to company staff.” The system supports remote clients running web browsers, and it also has a flexible client-server architecture for either centralized or decentralized monitoring from anywhere, and it can acquire and archive data. “Any number of remote clients can connect to it using the company internal network, or remotely via internet or modem connection.” This type of remote monitoring system can guarantee that someone will be paying attention to the turbines at all times.

Gas turbine performance is always top-of-mind for us here at Central Metal Fabricators. We specialize in the design, manufacturing and installation of gas-turbine silencing systems, and we use the latest equipment and technology to install and monitor the operations of gas turbines located around the world. That’s why we’re big proponents of remote monitoring and diagnostic systems for gas turbines. We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss our thoughts about turbines, remote monitoring and diagnostic systems in more detail. Give us a call at 305-261-6262 or contact us through our website for more information.

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