Delivering for you: Smart grid helps avoid more than 1.3 million customer outages

Delivering for you: Smart grid helps avoid more than 1.3 million customer outages

Combine innovation with smart investment and good things happen.  

In our case, a comprehensive installation of smart grid technology over recent years has allowed us to prevent more than 1.3 million customer outages since 2015. That’s a major milestone and one we believe can’t be equaled by another electric utility in the country. 

What is smart grid? It’s a combination of state-of-the-art automated sensors and switches, coupled with an advanced software system, that acts instantly to reroute power around a trouble location and reduce the outage footprint to the smallest possible area. Our lineworkers then respond to make the necessary repairs. 

A million is a huge number, but what does it mean? We estimate that customers have avoided a total of 100 million minutes in the dark since 2015. That’s 190 years of time!  

This achievement demonstrates how we’re using technology, innovation, and data to deliver more for you, our customers. It’s how we reliably power your home, business, and community each day. That’s peace of mind and value for your energy dollar. 

We’re going to keep imagining, keep innovating and keep making our grid stronger, smarter, and more reliable and resilient. Here’s to the next million! 

An innovative idea leads to more reliable service

An innovative idea leads to more reliable service

We’ve never been afraid to experiment with new technology or implement innovative ideas if it means more reliable service for our customers.

So as soon as battery technology became more advanced, our engineers were excited to launch a program within the PPL territory, specifically along a line in the Harrisburg region that experienced outages in the past.

These batteries, connected to the grid, will instantly kick-in when customers are out of power and can keep the lights on for 6 hours or more!

The Harrisburg battery project is the first of its kind on the PPL grid and we’re already looking into other regions that would benefit from this technology.

This innovative solution is a huge plus for power quality and reliability for our customers.  And batteries are just the start of ensuring a safer, more reliable and resilient grid.

Cutting outages short

Cutting outages short

Our goal is to provide exceptional service to you.

One key way we’re doing that is with a new automated power restoration system that’s turning the lights back on for customers in minutes, even before a work crew has made repairs.

The system uses smart grid technology that includes pole-top sensors to detect outages, a central computer that quickly analyzes the problem, and remote-control switches that reroute power and restore customers to service.

Here’s a video that shows how it works:

This advanced technology has already meant shorter power outages for thousands of homes and businesses, as the system has been phased in around our delivery area. It became fully operational in June.

During severe thunderstorms the week of July 18, our smart grid restored 9,488 homes and businesses to service in an average of one minute and 56 seconds. The following week, during another round of severe storms, the technology restored 5,308 customers automatically in an average of one minute and 36 seconds.

Here are some other recent examples of smart grid operations:

  • A tree branch fell on a power line in Thompsontown, Juniata County, on April 9, cutting power to 1,800 customers. The PPL smart grid returned 1,016 of the customers to service in four minutes.
  • An equipment failure in the Whitehall area June 28 cut power to 1,578 customers. In two minutes, 856 of the customers were back in power.
  • A storm in the Bloomsburg area June 28 cut power to 1,694 customers. In four minutes, smart grid had turned power back on for 1,456 customers.
  • A tree fell on a power line in the Macungie area on June 24, cutting power to 1,758 customers. In two minutes, 923 of the customers were returned to service.

We’re continuing to invest in technology and equipment to improve reliability for you. We’ve reduced outages by 30 percent since 2007, with an improvement of another 15 percent expected in the next five years. Last year our reliability programs prevented an estimated 410,000 power outages.