Millions of customers and tourists across Nevada are benefitting from improvements in the quality and continuity of their electrical supply, thanks to a technology upgrade made by their local utility company. NV Energy selected Aclara's grid monitoring platform to retrofit aging substations, distribution feeders and enhance situational awareness of their grid's operating conditions. The technology allows the Las Vegas-based utility to better balance their systems, resolve power quality issues, restore power more quickly should an outage occur, and anticipate customers' needs.
The grid monitoring platform comprises software-defined, inductively powered Smart Grid Sensors and a Sensor Management System (SMS) software with Predictive Grid® Analytics. Commenting on the new technology upgrade, Ron Kirker, a senior engineer with NV Energy's Distribution Planning Department said, "This type of 'plug-and-play' distribution monitoring technology is ideal for utilities looking to increase network visibility. Since it easily integrates with other systems, it allows our teams across departments to share data and work collaboratively, supporting us to further improve service reliability and customer satisfaction."
Safety is also a very important consideration for utility companies when selecting a solution meant to operate on energized power lines. Kumi Premathilake, Senior Vice President, Advanced Metering Infrastructure for Aclara, commented, "A top priority for all utilities is keeping their linemen team safe when diagnosing and resolving a network issue. Additional time, complexity and site visits involved in rectifying a network problem increase the risk for linemen crews in the field. Smart grid sensors can be quickly and safely installed on live lines by a single lineman using a hot-stick, one of the many reasons our solution is so attractive to network operators."
The Aclara platform allows NV Energy to obtain accurate, real-time data for determining precise electricity flow through overhead conductors and substations. This data also allows the utility company to identify more quickly and address overload and poor primary voltage conditions, resulting in a significant drop in customer complaints, according to NV Energy.
Kirker continued, "The business case for deploying the Aclara monitoring platform has been successfully evaluated and, over the next two years, we plan to expand the deployment of smart grid sensors to additional locations."