High Voltage Lab

Helping manufacturers and utilities address requirements for testing to ensure conformance with design specifications and national and international standards.

Areas of Focus

As the largest test lab on the west coast of North America, the lab is capable of conducting distribution- to transmission-level high-voltage tests on all types of equipment, including transformers, insulators, switchgear, bushings, cables and accessories, instrument transformers, transmission line hardware, surge arrestors, SF6 insulated equipment, generators, insulated aerial lift devices, and transformer rectifier units (TRUs).

The lab’s independent, third-party status and experienced and knowledgeable technical staff of more than 30 years enhance the credibility of manufacturers’ test reports.

The lab offers a full range of qualification and certification tests, as well as custom testing solutions. Condition assessment tests may be performed in the field or in the lab to evaluate the equipment condition. The lab also has a long history of conducting forensic analysis investigations to identify the cause of failures and providing expert witness services.

Facilities comprise an indoor lab, clean fog pollution test chamber, salt fog pollution test chamber, two-acre outdoor test area, and a 500-kV 180 m Inverted Delta transmission line.


  • Forensic analysis

    Expert witness

  • Remote witnessing

  • Research

    Condition assessment
    – Transformers
  • – Instrument transformers
  • – Insulators (porcelain, glass, polymer)
  • – Combined electrical and mechanical
  • – Bushings
  • – Capacitors
  • – Switchgear
  • – Surge Arrestors
  • – Cables and accessories
  • – SF6 insulated equipment
  • – Generators
  • – Transmission Line hardware
  • – Insulated aerial devices
  • – Transformer rectifier units (TRUs)

    Field Testing
    – Dielectric

    Type / qualification testing
    – AC and DC voltage withstand and flashover
  • – Lightning impulse
  • – Switching impulse
  • – Radio Influence voltage (RIV)
  • – Partial discharge and visual corona
  • – Tracking and erosion wheel and fog chamber
  • – Salt fog and clean fog pollution
  • – Capacitance and tan delta (dielectric losses)
  • – Induced testing
  • – Cables

Main test equipment

  • AC test equipment—1600 kV resonant test set, 5.0 A for testing in lab or field
  • High-voltage VFRTS (Variable Frequency Resonance Test Set)—90 kV, 34 A-portable
  • Impulse voltage test equipment—3.2 MV, 225 kJ impulse generator
  • 3 Phase Generator—60 Hz, 5 MVA and 300 Hz, 1 MVA
  • DC voltage test equipment—1000 kV, 10 mA
  • Insulation tracking wheels (dip and spray wheels) and fog chambers—1,000 hours
  • Partial discharge test equipment

High voltage testing capabilities

  • High voltage AC – 1600 kV
  • High voltage DC – 1000 kV
  • Impulse testing – 3200 kV
  • 3 phase AC feeder – 12 kV
  • 3 phase generator – 60 Hz, 5 MVA; 300 Hz, 1 MVA
  • Dry and wet AC and DC voltage withstand and flashover
  • Lightning impulse voltage withstand and flashover
  • Switching impulse dry and wet voltage withstand and flashover
  • Radio influence voltage (RIV)
  • Partial discharge and visual corona
  • Tracking and erosion wheel and fog chamber
  • Salt fog and clean fog pollution
  • Dielectric testing—capacitance and tan delta
  • Induced testing


Kevin J. Rapp, C. Patrick McShane, John Vandermaar, Dejan Vukovic, Stefan Tenbohlen, “Long Gap Breakdown of Natural Ester Fluid”, 2010 International Conference on High Voltage Engineering and Application (ICHVE 2010), October 2010.

T. De Rybel, A. Singh, J.A. Vandermaar, M. Wang, J.R. Marti, and K.D. Srivastava,“Apparatus for Online Power Transformer Winding Monitoring Using Bushing Tap Injection”, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Volume 24, Number 3, July 2009.

K. Abdolall, A. J. Vandermaar, “Feasibility of Free Radical Detection in Transformer Oils”, IEEE ISEI, June 2008.

A.J. Vandermaar,“Condition Assessment of Power Transformers Portable”, PES GM, 2008.

K. Abdolall, A.J. Vandermaar,“Remote Monitoring of the Internal Temperature of Porcelain and polymer Clad High Voltage Equipment”, International Symposium on Electrical Insulation Materials (ISEIM), Japan, 2008.

F. Rahmatian, J. Gurney and A.J. Vandermaar,“Portable 500 kV Optical Voltage Transducer for On-Site Calibration of HV Voltage Transformers without De-Energization”, CIGRE, A3-103, 2006.

M. Wang, A.J. Vandermaar and K.D. Srivastava, “Improved Detection of Power Transformer Winding Movement by Extending the FRA High Frequency Range”, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Volume 20, Number 3, July 2005.

K. Abdolall, A.J. Vandermaar, “Effects of Moisture in Oil/Paper Insulation On Power Factor Measurements”, IEEE, 2005

M. Wang, A.J. Vandermaar and K.D. Srivastava,“Transformer Winding Movement Monitoring in Service – Key Factors Affecting FRA Measurements”, IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, Volume 20, Number 5, pp. 5-12, September/October 2004.

M. Wang, Q. Jiang, J. Vandermaar, J.R. Marti and K.D. Srivastava, “Condition Monitoring of Power Transformers in Service”, International Conference on Power Systems, Nepal, 3-5 November 2004.

M. Wang, A.J. Vandermaar and K.D. Srivastava, “Review of Condition Assessment of Power Transformers in Service”, IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, Volume 18, Number 6, November/December 2002.

Denis, R.J., An, S.K., Vandermaar, J., and Wang, M., “Comparison of Two FRA Methods to Detect Transformer Winding Movement”, EPRI Substation Equipment Diagnostics Conference VIII, New Orleans, USA, 20-23 February 2000.

Wang, M., Vandermaar, A.J., and Srivastava, K.D., “Condition Monitoring of Transformers in Service by the Low Voltage Impulse Test Method”, 11th International Symposium on High Voltage Engineering, paper 1.45.S3, London, England, 22-27 August 1999.

Wang, M., Vandermaar, A.J, and Srivastava, K.D., “Transformer Condition Monitoring by the Low Voltage Impulse Test Method”, CIGRE Third South African Regional Conference, Session 1, Item No. 3, Johannesburg South Africa, 19-21 May 1998.

N. A. F. Jaeger, S. E. Cherukupalli, A. J. Vandermaar, C. P. Jaeger, H. Kato, F.Rahmatian, and G. S. Polovick “On-Line Real-Time Relative Dissipation Factor Measurement System.” Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering ’98, Waterloo, ON, May 24-28, 1998.

A.J. Vandermaar and M. Wang, “Transformer Condition Monitoring by Frequency Response Analysis”, Substation Equipment Diagnostics Conference VI, TR-111314, September 1998.

S. E. Cherukupalli, A. J. Vandermaar, N. A. F. Jaeger, F. Rahmatian, H. Kato, C. P. Jaeger, D. R. Green, and G. S. Polovick, “Development of a Condition Monitoring System for High-Voltage Current Transformers,” Proceedings of the International Power Engineering Conference, Singapore, May 21-23, 1997.

Vandermaar, A.J., and Wang, M.,“Transformer Condition Monitoring By Frequency Response Analysis” 10th International Symposium High Voltage Engineering, Vol. 4, pp. 119-122, Montreal, Canada, 25-29 August 1997.

Vandermaar, A.J., “On Site Testing of SF6 Systems Problems and Experiences”, Cage Club Meeting, Varennes, Quebec, 7-8 May 1981.


K. Abdolall, A. J. Vandermaar, and D. Tarampi, “Investigation into the Downtown Vancouver Power Outage of 14 July 2008”, International Conference on Insulated Power Cables, (Jicable 2011) Versailles, France, June 2011.

K. Abdolall, M. Stephens, A. Rao, D. Kung, and D. Tarampi, “Condition Assessment of the Underground Distribution Feeders of BC Hydro”, PES-ICC Meeting, March 2010.

K. Abdolall, and D. Tarampi, “BC Hydro Strategy on Managing Underground Distribution Cable Assets”, PES-ICC Meeting, October 2010.

K. Abdolall, M. Stephens, and D. Tarampi, “Significance of Field Testing XLPE Cables”, PES-ICC Meeting, November 2009.

K. Abdolall, L. Ogawa, M. Stephens, A. Norris, and D. Tarampi, “Practical Issues with Splices for New Underground Solid Dielectric Cable Designs”, PES-ICC Meeting, February 2009

Ogawa, L.E., Abdolall, K., Stephens, M.J., and Smith, B. (2008). Condition Assessment of 15kV Rejuventated Underground XLPE Cables. IEEE 978-1-4244-2092-6/08

Abdolall, K., Buchholz,V.L., Cartlidge, D.M., Morton, C.P., Armanini, G., Harris, A., and Valli, G.F (2002). BC Hydro 15 kV Cable Explosion. IEEE Transactions of Power Delivery (Vol 17, No. 2).

Abdolall, K., Halldorson, G.L., and Green, D. (2002). Condition Assessment and Failure Modes of Solid Dielectric Cables in Perspective. (Vol. 17, No.1).



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