Reliability

Reliability means trustworthiness in a system, which is robust enough to minimize outage occurrences and whenever they happen, their duration is short. For utilities, outages mean immediate losses and eventually accidents.

Needless to say, that any stoppage will signify a fall from an optimal operational point to scratch and the least, the waste of energy to start up again and place the operation back to optimum. Reliability is another high concern for utilities' management. Fewer stumbles mean longer runs, enduring efficiency and reduced costs. The ways to mitigate failures and consequent outages involve redundancy and standby operation of some critical equipment, or alternatively increasing the design margins of these pieces of equipment, which is similar to redundancy. All these actions resemble the approach described for availability in the design section, and have a similar noncompliance effect over energy efficiency. Option for efficiency is similar, but in the other way around. Counting on that extra capacity, included in the plant for availability, and a probability study for failures, it is possible to build a contingency plan, discarding in a coherent sequence less sensitive loads when an outage occurs, while maintaining some of the demands. This procedure will not eliminate losses, but it smoothes consequences, holds main processes and utility systems, potentially reducing downtime and accelerating pace for returning to the operational condition previous to the event.

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