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What’s an Air Break Switch and Why Do We Need Them?


Have you ever heard the term Air Break Switch? Do you know what it is, and why they’re critical for an electrical system?

An air break switch, like the name suggests, is a known break in the power line system that can be manually opened or closed. If closed, electricity flows past the break and on down the line. If the switch is open, electricity from the substation stops at that point.

Why would we need to stop the flow of electricity?

To explain, we’ll create a small-scale scenario. Let’s say a substation distributes power to ten homes, with an air break switch between the fifth and sixth homes. If something like a tree limb were to fall on the line beyond the fifth home, it would knock out power to all ten homes. Since it happened past that fifth home, however, the air break switch would come into play.

Once the problem is identified, a lineman could open the air break switch causing a break in the line after the fifth home. Now power could be restored up to that point, stopping at the break. This would leave only five homes without power until crews fix the line.

Take that small example and expand it to
real-world numbers, and we’re talking a lot more than ten homes with power while crews work to restore power.

BEC uses more than 100 air break switches at key points along 4,600 miles of power lines. Those air break switches have the potential to keep the lights on for hundreds, if not thousands of members during the worst of times.

To learn more about outage restoration, visit BanderaElectric.com/Reliability.


Posted: 4/27/2021 9:50:41 AM
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