Often a customer call is a utility’s first notification of an outage. But many utilities have existing software and equipment that can be leveraged with minimal effort to alert the utility of a fault before the customer calls, enabling those utilities to mobilize repair crews sooner, give the crews better information on the source of the fault, and report to customers that the outage is already being repaired. Detecting faults earlier and more accurately saves the utility time and money, and just as importantly, increases customer confidence.
This article discusses programs that two cooperatives implemented to put their existing equipment to better use. By combining functionality within their existing substation relays, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), both of these co-ops have seen significant benefits so far.