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Utilities Anticipate and Respond to Weather-Related Outages Faster with GE’s Interoperable, End-to-End Suite of Restoration Solutions PDF

  • GE’s Comprehensive Outage Restoration Solutions – Including Its New Damage Assessment Applications – Equip Utilities with the Tools Needed to Get the Power Back on Quickly When Severe Weather Strikes
  • Interoperable Software and Intelligent Controls Enable Utility Operators to Efficiently and Accurately Communicate Critical Grid Data to Field Workers, Speeding up Restoration Times
  • GE’s Full Line of Outage Restoration Solutions on Display at 2015 DistribuTECH Conference at Booth 2113

SAN DIEGO – February 2, 2015 – Hurricanes, ice storms, wide-scale flooding: global economic losses caused by extreme weather events have risen to nearly $200 billion per year in the last decade. Damage inflicted from extreme weather conditions, including unplanned outages, causes problems across entire distribution networks, creating havoc for utilities. When dealing with these unplanned outages, it becomes a race against time – and a battle against data – for utility companies to restore safe, reliable and efficient power to their customers and to critical facilities and infrastructures.

In order to restore power in a timely and effective way, utilities need tools and systems that can help them better prepare by identifying changes that could lead to outages, visualizing their complete distribution network, developing a plan and mobilizing personnel to get the power back on.. For best results, these systems must work cohesively and efficiently. Understanding this need, GE’s Digital Energy business (NYSE: GE) has developed a broad portfolio of interoperable outage restoration solutions – from intelligent controls, sensors and automation to visualization, field-force automation and communications infrastructure. Together, these systems work harmoniously to ensure power is restored as quickly and safely as possible. Many of these solutions will be on display today at the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition, which is taking place February 3-5 in San Diego.

“Utility companies around the world increasingly find themselves faced with unpredictable extreme weather conditions that can create major issues for their power systems. Oftentimes, these conditions can stress electrical grids and assets far beyond their intended design,” said Andy Goodman, general manager, sales – North America, GE’s Digital Energy business. “By implementing advanced outage restoration solutions, utilities are better able to visualize and manage their networks, helping to get the power back on when and where it is needed most. Integrated systems also can reduce the number of crew dispatches in unplanned outages, helping save utilities millions in added costs.”

A thorough outage restoration plan actually begins before a fault or outage has occurred. GE’s SmallWorld™ Electric Office geospatial information system (GIS) provides utilities with a complete and accurate view of their electrical grid and assets. The software’s enhanced mapping tools enable utilities to visualize and manage their network and to collect critical data that can be used to assess the impact of a potential outage on the functionality of their electrical distribution systems. In addition to a GIS, utilities can benefit from implementing GE’s PowerOn™ suite of outage management systems (OMS) and advanced distribution management systems (ADMS) in their network operations centers. These systems enable utility operators to make informed decisions once an outage has been detected, allowing them to update restoration times to customers and to quickly mobilize restoration tasks and data to the field. These software applications work together seamlessly to help utilities assess the situation when an outage occurs and restore power to affected customers quicker.

Automation also plays a large role in restoring power during an unplanned outage. When deployed across a utilities distribution network, GE’s smart controls, sensors and substation automation devices can identify and isolate outage zones, allowing utilities to implement an automated switching plan that can re-route and restore power to affected customers. In addition, its intelligent line sensors wirelessly transmit data to utility control centers, informing operators of the exact fault location. This enables service crews to be dispatched faster to the site of the fault.

The latest trend in grid management and outage restoration is the use of mobile solutions to assess damage in the field. Technology such as GE’s new Damage Assessment Application, part of its Mobile Enterprise Suite of applications, can be used to visualize network information and provide field workers with detailed or summary-level network damage data straight to their mobile device. By operating agnostically and enabling mutual assistance, the easy-to-use and intuitive app allows crews from other regions to be to be deployed to an affected region while utilizing the mobile devices of the local utility. It also ensures all employees working to restore a fault are viewing the same accurate and up-to-date information surrounding the electrical distribution network. Interoperable with GE’s OMS and ADMS software solutions, the mobile app allows data to be communicated accurately from a utility’s command center to those working in the field – reducing human error in data transmission and creating an electronic trail of all network restoration activity.

“Severe weather seems to play a major role in utility outages more often than ever over the past couple of years,” Goodman continued. “With our interoperable and comprehensive outage restoration solutions, utility companies can breathe a little easier knowing that they are well prepared to get the power back on in times of necessity.”