Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Outage Times

Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Outage Times

An electrical device on power lines and poles.

Using technology like this Viper recloser, NHEC is reducing the time it takes to restore power.

With the application of advanced engineering and communication technologies in the field, NHEC is reducing the time it takes to restore power outages.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, is making it possible for an employee in our Plymouth Control Center to safely do in a few minutes what would normally take a lineworker an hour or more to do in the field.

NHEC has long had the ability to remotely monitor and control the flow of power within its 45 substations, but a pilot project underway this year is providing that same control on smaller circuits outside the substations, where the majority of outages occur.

In practical terms, that means the NHEC Control Center, working with field crews on the scene, will be able to refeed entire circuits that have lost power with a few mouse clicks. The manual process of refeeding circuits can be a time-consuming task for a line crew. But by utilizing  SCADA to support lineworkers on the ground, outage times can be reduced significantly.

A key part of NHEC’s SCADA project is an investment in a variety of ‘recloser’ technologies. Like a circuit breaker on household electric lines, reclosers shut off electric power when trouble occurs, such as a short circuit. Reclosers also allow power to flow if the interruption is temporary, like a branch that brushes a line when it falls. NHEC is installing a variety of recloser technologies in the field that will respond to automated processes activated by employees from our Control Center. The result – shorter outage times and increased reliability for members.