Engineers can evaluate power quality and reliability risks using a number of mathematical methods that help determine the areas of vulnerability at a given site. For this reason, Reliability, Maintainability and Risk, 6th Edition, by Dr. David J. Smith, is a highly useful and informative text.

Although Dr. Smith's book is not a power quality text per se, its mathematical and management approaches can be applied to any risk-based scenario. The book is divided into five main sections: Understanding Reliability Parameters and Costs; Interpreting Failure Rates; Predicting Failure and Risks; Achieving Reliability and Maintainability; and Legal, Management and Safety Considerations. The information is presented in a manner that technical and nontechnical personnel can understand.

Recently, I witnessed a situation where engineers changed out a utility transformer at a data center. The methods outlined in this book helped me define a number of vulnerabilities. The initial analysis identified the possibility of a failure during the change out, so the engineers rented a portable generator. As it turned out, this proved to be a sound investment because the vulnerability became a reality.

Reliability, Maintainability and Risk, 6th Edition, is intended for power quality engineers, maintenance engineers, facility managers, and utility engineers who face financial, technical, and operational risks in their day-to-day operations. Once these professionals use the book to identify and quantify power quality and reliability risks, they can turn to putting the necessary solutions into place.

To order a copy of the book, visit the Butterworth-Heinemann publishing company at