Intelligent Duke Energy technology to prevent power outages

With the start of hurricane season and severe to severe storms in full swing locally, Duke Energy is on the offensive to keep customers energized.

CHARLET, North Carolina – Hurricane season has just begun on June 1 and there is already a storm. In addition, with the heat and humidity of summer, strong storms become more likely in Carolina.

For that reason, Duke Energy is taking an offensive approach to avoid power outages in the region.

They use new technologies, such as intelligent, self-healing technology, to prevent not only complete power outages but also rapid resolution.

Self-recovery technology can automatically identify a power outage and quickly redirect power to restore service faster. That’s what Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy, said WCNC Charlotte meteorologist Brittany Van Wurhees to think of self-healing technology like GPS in your car.

“If you’re driving, it says a break is coming and you’re taking the road to get around the break and continue on your way,” Brooks explained. “Think of it as a grid GPS that helps identify outages and quickly redirect power to other lines to restore service faster.”

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Self-healing technology can reduce the number of customers affected by a power outage by up to 75%. In some cases, it can restore power in less than a minute.

Currently, only 20% of Duke Energy’s customers are taking advantage of this new technology, but hope to increase that number to 80% in the next few years.

In 2021, this technology helped avoid more than 200,000 long interruptions to customers in North Carolina, saving customers more than 400,000 hours of lost interruption time.

What is the biggest cause of power outages in Carolina?

According to Brooks, hard weather is causing most problems at the local level. This is especially the case when the trees overturn, taking the power lines with them. This is often due to flooding and saturated soil. Strong, damaging winds come through and boom… the tree has fallen.

Brooks says that in some areas, such as southeastern Charlotte, where interruptions often occur, they have tried to place some of the lines underground. They use advanced data analysis to tell them the right place to draw the line.

However, this is not always possible – nor is it the best solution everywhere.

How do weather and climate change affect Duke Energy’s approach to power outages?

Severe storms are the most common cause of weather outages, but the list goes on. Ice storms, heat waves, gusts of wind, flash floods and tropical cyclones can cause problems with interruptions. And we have it all in Carolina!

With the changing climate and increasing number of storms, strong or otherwise, Duke Energy is preparing accordingly.

“In addition to looking at historical reliability data, we’re starting to use machine learning and AI to start forecasting some of the trends over time that we’ll see with our system to make sure we’re building the right protections on the ground.” whatever we meet to make sure we are ready to maintain reliable service for our customers, ”said Brooks.

Brooks explains that Duke Energy has an approach to all dangers and they try to prepare for everything. Self-healing technology is the first step towards recovering as many customers as possible, even if the crews eventually have to go out and repair the damage. It also helps crews stay safer and more efficient, even while on the field.

What else causes power outages besides time?

Hitting cars in poles is a major factor in power outages. Brooks says distracted driving has caused a large increase in the number of these crashes.

He said that because we cannot anticipate these outages, they need a system that can recover quickly.

Two other big culprits: squirrels and snakes.

“They enter our lines, they enter our substations and they can cause interruptions to 1,000 customers,” Brooks said. “So we are making a lot of improvements built around protecting our systems from animals and their safety, while keeping the network up and running.”

What other new technologies is Duke Energy using?

Duke uses intelligent technology not only to restore power after power outages, but also to manage distributed technologies such as electric vehicles, storage of batteries and solar panels in homes and businesses.

All this changes the way energy passes through the electricity grid.

“If you think about it, energy has always flowed in one direction from our power plants to our customers,” Brooks said. “But now everything is changing. This power is now flowing in many directions, we have energy coming from your home or business that may need to go elsewhere. “

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“We need a smarter power grid so we can automatically manage this and make the grid efficient so you never have a problem with power reliability, even when we add these cleaner technologies. This facility will also help, in addition to speeding up power recovery, help prepare the grid for the future so that we can provide cleaner energy options for our customers. ”

Duke Energy also uses smart meters throughout our field. Brooks says that using these meters, they can remotely retrieve information from home or business to make sure power is restored. This is helpful so that the crew can finish faster and move on to another break.

What does the Duke Energy Distribution Control Center do?

Employees working in this facility manage state-wide utility teams and monitor and respond to outages when they occur. When you report a break, they hire a crew or use break repair technology.

This facility also helps maintain day-to-day electricity quality issues, customer concerns, grid improvement work, new poles and wires to support growth in the area.

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The interesting thing about this facility is that the crew members can work together to help each other. The regions are divided, but if there is a major outage in the Charlotte area, crews from other areas can take a few steps to help Charlotte staff regain power.

Contact Brittany Van Voorhees at [email protected] and follow her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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