01 Feb How FLISR can save millions for emerging market Utilities
Fault location, isolation and service restoration are systems and technologies that work seamlessly together to automatically achieve the following. Sequentially we are talking about a scenario where an outage has just happened. Utilities immediately detect where the outage and feeder fault has occurred. They then proceed to locate the specific area where the damage is. They isolate that portion using line switches and then use a combination of backup feeders and primary feeder as well as tie switches they bring back power to the undamaged portions of the feeder. They can also dramatically improve time to respond and fix in case the problem is of a “hard” nature and maintenance crews are required.
FLISR is a powerful evolution of the digital utility that has invested in smart meters and automation of its core and ancillary systems. These are essential to make FLISR a reality because integration of operations, engineering, billing and customer services systems and smart meters is needed. Despite these integration challenges FLISR has gained dramatic mindshare with utilities and is top of mind with all business and technology executives in the industry. In many regions of the world FLISR is on top of the actionable list of projects getting funding.
The reason for this is that FLISR when done right dramatically impacts both cost savings and customer satisfaction:
- Pilot projects have shown restoration times because of automatic or manual restoration up by two thirds. Keep in mind that as data accumulates preventive actions and smarter resourcing will bring up these numbers even more.
- Scope of work is precise for when manual intervention is needed and work is done quickly. The output of maintenance teams and their productivity dramatically improves.
- Post FLISR implementations customer satisfaction in outage events was managed whereas previously it plummeted. FLISR allowed intervention by utilities before majority of customers crosses the threshold of dissatisfaction.
- Emerging markets line losses through electricity thefts are often in billions of dollars a year per market. Smart meters are able to contain theft at the meter level but the overwhelming theft occurs when thieves hook up directly into the distribution system. Combining the FLISR data from distribution line monitoring and usage at meters allows analytics to pinpoint where leakage and line losses whether through electricity or poor grid infrastructure are occurring. The implication for this for Utilities is massive.
A distributed, intelligent, self-healing grid is possible in today’s world. Utilities need to plan a path that starts with automation of their application stack and follow it up with a smart meter and advanced metering infrastructure initiative. Then they need to implement FLISR.
The use cases from the data generated by FLISR, smart meters and customer-oriented applications are fluid but will enable optimization iteration cycles that seek to usher in a golden age of productivity and efficiency for utilities.