Tollgrade helps prevent power outages in Metro Detroit



Tollgrade Communications, a leader in redefining the global standard for reliability at the world’s largest electric utilities and telecommunications providers, has released its fourth Predictive Grid Quarterly Report (PGQR) on its grid modernization project with DTE Energy. 

The report explains how Tollgrade’s waveform analysis enabled a large U.S utility to identify a ‘conductor slapping’ event on its distribution network and prevented a serious power outage that would have left more than 10,000 customers without electricity.

Conductor slapping is an event that occurs when overhead power lines collide either due to high winds, or when a fault current induces magnetic forces causing conductors to move and slap together. This can result in a cascading series of faults along overhead distribution lines, Undetected, this type of event can significantly diminish power quality, cause flickering lights in customers’ homes, and may lead to prolonged power outages.

“This type of event is extremely difficult for utilities and network operators to identify or locate if all three phases of the electric grid are not monitored in real- time. Even though the sensors were installed with a different application in mind, they uncovered an issue no one would have known existed. This is a great added benefit to having sensors deployed on all circuits,” said David Maloney, Senior Sales Engineer at Tollgrade Communications.

Erik Christian, VP of Smart Grid at Tollgrade Communications added: “Using the fault data and waveform analysis from LightHouse® sensors, operators were able to proactively reduce stress on their network caused by conductor slap events, improve power quality to their customers and prevent future outages.”

DTE Energy improving reliability numbers

Smart grid sensors are helping utility and network operators throughout the U.S improve grid reliability and prevent outages. After considerable investment in reliability improvement projects, DTE Energy recently reported achieving its best overall reliability performance in eight years.

Russel Pogats, Director Electrical Engineering commented: “This year, DTE Energy was able to improve its power reliability figures by 44% which is an amazing achievement. Our efforts to improve reliability will include the continuous deployment of Tollgrade’s smart grid sensors on our network.”

He added: “LightHouse smart grid sensors allow us to increase our situational awareness as events occur in real time on the distribution network. This information enables DTE Energy personnel to improve customer service by reducing fault response times even further.”