Smart grid investments made by PPL Electric have resulted in 2017 being the most reliable year for the US utility.
Customer interruptions in 2017 were 550,000 fewer than in 2007. PPL Electric has installed smart grid devices at more than 4,600 locations within the distribution network.
The Pennsylvania-based utility reduced lightning-related outages on the transmission network by 76% between 2012 and 2017. This was a result of investments made in lightning protection.
To date, the energy provider to 1.4 million homes and businesses is ranked amongst the top 11 utilities with the lowest average number of outages per customer.
In addition to installing smart grid devices, PPL Electric invested in software including data analytics to improve management and maintenance grid equipment by having access to real-time operational data.
The energy company cleared trees along power lines to reduce tree-related outages especially during storms.
Stephanie Raymond, vice president, Distribution Operations, said: "We're always looking to make our grid better. That work never stops. Our business revolves around serving our customers and powering our communities. It's a responsibility we relish."
PPL Electric has plans to increase:
- Automation on the local distribution grid to reroute power around trouble spots and turn the lights on faster for many customers.
- Automation on the higher-voltage transmission grid to further improve reliability for customers.
- Improvements at substations and in underground networks that serve cities.
- Continued proactive replacement of aging equipment.
- Replacement of 15,000 wooden distribution poles and 160 circuit breakers over the next five years.
- Rebuilding over 1,400 miles of older transmission lines over the next five years.
Image credit: Stock.