Healthcare EPSS Testing Guidance and Instructions

1      Monthly Testing

NFPA 99 excerpts:

6.4.4.1.1.4      Inspection and Testing.

Criteria, conditions, and personnel requirements shall be in accordance with 6.4.4.1.1.4(A) through 6.4.4.1.1.4(C).

(A)* Test Criteria.

Generator sets shall be tested 12 times a year, with testing intervals of not less than 20 days nor more than 40 days. Generator sets serving essential electrical systems shall be tested in accordance with NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, Chapter 8.

(B) Test Conditions. The scheduled test under load conditions shall include a complete simulated cold start and appropriate automatic and manual transfer of all essential electrical system loads.

 

NFPA 110 excerpts:

8.4.1                  EPSSs, including all appurtenant components, shall be inspected weekly and exercised under load at least monthly.

 

8.4.1.1              If the generator set is used for standby power or for peak load shaving, such use shall be recorded and shall be permitted to be substituted for scheduled operations and testing of the generator set, providing the same record as required by 8.3.4.

 

8.4.2                  Diesel generator sets in service shall be exercised at least once monthly, for a minimum of 30 minutes, using one of the following methods:

(1) Loading that maintains the minimum exhaust gas temperatures as recommended by the manufacturer

(2) Under operating temperature conditions and at not less than 30 percent of the EPS standby nameplate kW rating

 

8.4.2.1              The date and time of day for required testing shall be decided by the owner, based on facility operations.

 

8.4.2.3              Diesel-powered EPS installations that do not meet the requirements of 8.4.2 shall be exercised monthly with the available EPSS load and shall be exercised annually with supplemental loads at not less than 50 percent of the EPS nameplate kW rating for 30 continuous minutes and at not less than 75 percent of the EPS nameplate kW rating for 1 continuous hour for a total test duration of not less than 1.5 continuous hours.

 

8.4.2.4              Spark-ignited generator sets shall be exercised at least once a month with the available EPSS load for 30 minutes or until the water temperature and the oil pressure have stabilized.

 

8.4.2.4.1          The date and time of day for required testing shall be decided by the owner, based on facility operations.

 

8.4.3                  The EPS test shall be initiated by simulating a power outage using the test switch(es) on the ATSs or by opening a normal breaker. Opening a normal breaker shall not be required.

 

8.4.4                  Load tests of generator sets shall include complete cold starts.

 

8.4.6                  Transfer switches shall be operated monthly.

 

8.4.6.1              The monthly test of a transfer switch shall consist of electrically operating the transfer switch from the primary position to the alternate position and then a return to the primary position.

 

8.4.6.2              The criteria set forth in Section 4.3 and in Table 4.1(b) shall not be required during the monthly testing of the EPSS. If the criteria are not met during the monthly test, a process shall be provided to annually confirm the capability of the system to comply with Section 4.3.

 

8.4.8                  EPSS components shall be maintained and tested by qualified person(s).

 

8.4.9                  Level 1 EPSS shall be tested at least once within every 36 months.

 

8.4.9.1              Level 1 EPSS shall be tested continuously for the duration of its assigned class (see Section 4.2).

 

4.2                      Class.

The class defines the minimum time, in hours, for which the EPSS is designed to operate at its rated load without being refueled or recharged. [See Table 4.1(a).]

 

8.4.9.2              Where the assigned class is greater than 4 hours, it shall be permitted to terminate the test after 4 continuous hours.

 

8.4.9.3              The test shall be initiated by operating at least one transfer switch test function and then by operating the test function of all remaining ATSs, or initiated by opening all switches or breakers supplying normal power to all ATSs that are part of the EPSS being tested.

 

8.4.9.4              A power interruption to non-EPSS loads shall not be required.

 

8.4.9.5              The minimum load for this test shall be as specified in 8.4.9.5.1, 8.4.9.5.2, or 8.4.9.5.3.

 

8.4.9.5.1          For a diesel-powered EPS, loading shall be not less than 30 percent of the nameplate kW rating of the EPS. A supplemental load bank shall be permitted to be used to meet or exceed the 30 percent requirement.

 

8.4.9.5.2          For a diesel-powered EPS, loading shall be that which maintains the minimum exhaust gas temperatures as recommended by the manufacturer.

 

8.4.9.5.3          For spark-ignited EPSs, loading shall be the available EPSS load.

 

8.4.9.6              The test required in 8.4.9 shall be permitted to be combined with one of the monthly tests required by 8.4.2 and one of the annual tests required by 8.4.2.3 as a single test.

 

8.4.9.7              Where the test required in 8.4.9 is combined with the annual load bank test, the first 3 hours shall be at not less than the minimum loading required by 8.4.9.5 and the remaining hour shall be at not less than 75 percent of the nameplate kW rating of the EPS.

 

Testing Requirements:

  • Diesel generators must be tested monthly and demonstrate operation for a duration of at least 30 minutes meeting one of the following criteria:
    1. Maintaining the minimum exhaust gas temperatures as recommended by the manufacturer
    2. Under operating temperature conditions maintaining 30 percent of the generator nameplate kW rating
  • If the above criteria may not be demonstrated via monthly testing, an annual test must be conducted (typically in conjunction with a load bank apparatus) that maintains generator load of 50% of the nameplate kW rating for 30 minutes and 70% of the nameplate kW rating for 60 minutes totaling no less than 90 minutes of testing under these load requirements.
  • All transfer switches must be operated monthly. Note: “operated” not “tested” therefore a recorded outage could qualify for this requirement.
  • Monthly load tests may be conducted at a date and time as decided upon by the operator.
  • Monthly load tests must be initiated via the transfer switch(es)/normal breakers with the generator starting in a non-running state i.e. may not be initiated with the generator already running.
  • If an event occurs within a facility (outage or Demand Response) that meets the monthly testing criteria, that event may be recorded as fulfilling the monthly testing requirement and additional testing for that month is not required.
  • Generator testing must be performed 12 times per year with a minimum of 20 days between subsequent tests and maximum of 40 days between subsequent tests. (20-40 day requirements)

 

Blue Pillar Recommendations

                Monthly Test with delayed start to establish “at temperature” criteria:  Blue Pillar’s system allows an administrator to set a test start-up delay that will insert a delay within the system once all ATS’s have transferred to allow ample time for the generator(s) to come up to operating temperatures.  The setting for this can be based on previous test measurements, but 10-15 minutes is a very conservative number to start with.

 

                Monthly Test with manual user initiation:  Blue Pillar’s system a user to explicitly control the transfer of each ATS by selecting the “Initiate commands through the User Interface” checkbox.  This will instruct the system to begin with automatically calling the initiating ATS for transfer, but then leaves it to the user to transfer each ATS via user input.  The user may then wait to initiate the last ATS until the desired temperatures (water and/or exhaust) have been reached.  Once the final ATS has been transferred via user input, the test collection will begin.

 

 

 

2      Time to bus

NFPA 99 excerpts:

6.4.4.1.1.1      Maintenance of Alternate Power Source.

The generator set or other alternate power source and associated equipment, including all appurtenance parts, shall be so maintained as to be capable of supplying service within the shortest time practicable and within the 10-second interval specified in 6.4.1.1.10 and 6.4.3.1.

 

6.4.4.1.1.2      The 10-second criterion shall not apply during the monthly testing of an essential electrical system. If the 10-second criterion is not met during the monthly test, a process shall be provided to annually confirm the capability of the life safety and critical branches to comply with 6.4.3.1.

 

6.4.3.1              Source.            

            The life safety and critical branches shall be installed and connected to the alternate power source specified in 6.4.1.1.4 and 4.1.1.5 so that all functions specified herein for the life safety and critical branches are automatically restored to operation within 10 seconds after interruption of the normal source.

 

6.4.1.1.10        Load Pickup.

The energy converters shall have the required capacity and response to pick up and carry the load within the time specified in Table 4.1(b) of NFPA110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, after loss of primary power.

 

6.4.1.1.4          Essential electrical systems shall have a minimum of the following two independent sources of power: a normal source generally supplying the entire electrical system and one or more alternate sources for use when the normal source is interrupted.

 

6.4.1.1.5          Where the normal source consists of generating units on the premises, the alternate source shall be either another generating set or an external utility service.

 

NFPA 110 excerpts:

               

 

4.3 Type.         The type defines the maximum time, in seconds, that the EPSS will permit the load terminals of the transfer switch to be without acceptable electrical power. Table 4.1(b) provides the types defined by this standard.

 

8.4.3                  The EPS test shall be initiated by simulating a power outage using the test switch(es) on the ATSs or by opening a normal breaker. Opening a normal breaker shall not be required.

 

Definition:

Time To Bus is the time that it takes from either loss of power to the normal supply or initiation of the test function/switch of an ATS to the point at which the power has been restored to the load side of the ATS or better said: “Time to Transfer”. 

 

Testing Requirements:

Per the above stated code, if the time to bus response time cannot be met during the monthly test, a procedure must be followed once annually to demonstrate the response of the life safety/critical branches i.e. pulling a life safety or critical incoming ATS feed and measuring the response.  This testing requirement is required for each EPSS system on minimally an annual basis.

 

Blue Pillar Recommendations in using Avise to verify Time To Bus

                Monthly Test: Clearly the most straight forward and easiest way to demonstrate time to bus is for the monthly test to meet the response time and file either the compliance or operational report from the system as this evidence. 

 

                Annual Test: If the system cannot demonstrate a compliant response time during the monthly tests, any emergency/outage event in which a life safety or critical switch initiated the response and the response is compliant may be used to demonstrate compliance.  Only in the cases where there is not a compliant monthly test and a compliant outage within the annual window is there a need to manually test the time to bus requirement via pulling an incoming breaker to a life safety or critical switch.

 

Upcoming Enhancement to Blue Pillar Avise

                To better support the time to bus compliance requirement, Blue Pillar is currently developing and will soon release a report specifically meant to document system compliance.  The user will select a date range and the system will generate a report per EPSS of all events in which a life safety or critical branch ATS was the initiating ATS and the response time met the compliance requirements inclusive of monthly tests and emergencies/outages.

 

 

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