T&D World Magazine

New Outage-Avoidance Technology Achieving 97.8% Accuracy for Uncovering Failing Line Equipment

Exacter, Inc. reports that its system is achieving 97.8% accuracy in identifying overhead line equipment in failure mode.

“We’ve refined our process and analytics to the point where literally 97.8% of the problems we find, when physically investigated by our utility partners, are actual failing components,” said John Lauletta, CEO of Exacter, Inc.

Lauletta’s company, Exacter, Inc., has surveyed more than 50,000 miles of overhead line over the last 18 months for more than 80 different North American utilities. “No one has physically surveyed more miles of overhead distribution line than we have,” says Geoffrey Bibo, vice president of Exacter. “And we are at a point with our customers that when our system identifies a piece of failing equipment, they know replacing it proactively reduces outages.”

EXACTER technology is usually deployed as a turnkey service that begins with multiple drive-through surveys of designated circuits. EXACTER filters out false readings and identifies specific electrical failure signatures on overhead lines. Using proprietary analytics, the system then creates maps and GPS coordinates of failing equipment. Field teams then go to these locations to pinpoint specific poles and components emitting failure signals. The utility is presented a report with maps, pole numbers and photographs of the failing components for pre-emptive action.

“Eighteen months in the field are proving that power outages caused by failing equipment can be predicted and prevented,” continues Lauletta. “And the financial implications of this for utilities will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s 2003 study identified that 31% of all power outages are caused by failing equipment — a staggering 1.8 million outages annually.

“What’s significant about the development and refinement of our technology is that what utilities previously considered to be unavoidable outages (equipment failures), are now avoidable,” notes Lauletta. “And at $500-$7000 per outage, that can be a lot of money saved for utilities.”

“This technology gives CEOs the opportunity to show Public Utility Commissions actual field data that demonstrates they are pre-empting power outages and improving reliability,” concludes Lauletta. “The final deliverable from Exacter is fewer outages, reduced SAIFI and SAIDI numbers, fewer customer complaints, and finally, some good news for an aging distribution system.”

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