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Outage Detectives

New technologies speed up response to power outages

The ordeal of losing electricity can be frustrating, but electric cooperatives are always looking for ways to get the power back on as soon and safely as possible. Thanks to new and more advanced technologies, co-ops can restore power outages faster than ever.

Powering up after an outage starts on a larger level and finishes up in local areas. First, high-voltage transmission lines are examined, then distribution stations and last main distribution lines. If the outage can’t be pinpointed to these areas, tap lines and individual homes are inspected. This process enables your electric co-op to efficiently help the most members in the shortest amount of time, and co-ops are working to make this process even faster. 

Smart technology

One of the biggest advancements in technology that electric co-ops are using is Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). These smart meters allow for two-way communications and send information back to the co-op’s operations center. This helps to distinguish between events that affect a single home and those that involve multiple outages, which is important because different processes are used to solve those issues. The two-way communication also provides a way to verify that power has been restored after an outage.

Another technology is the Outage Management System (OMS), which can predict the location of the problem and how many members are impacted. Especially when used together, the two technologies can be extremely useful in resolving an outage. As the AMI collects and sends data, the OMS then analyzes the data using mathematical functions and models the electrical network to assess the impact of the outage. 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is used to manage power outages. Members can easily and quickly report an outage by entering their phone number or location, which is recorded on an electronic map used by dispatchers. After service has been restored, the system can also make follow-up calls to members to confirm that the power is back on.

One of the major benefits of improved technologies, especially for outages caused by extreme weather, is understanding where the outages are located, which helps to reduce risk for crews out on the road during the weather events. 

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