Oncor Electric Delivery, in late March 2007, became the first utility to install S&C Electric Company's new TripSaver Dropout Recloser, a technology designed to decrease outage times and increase overall reliability.
"Reliability is a top priority for Oncor," said Rob Trimble, president and chief operating officer, Oncor. "Currently, Oncor performs among the top 25 percent of utilities in the nation in terms of reliability. Our goal is to be even better than that in future years. Proper application of technological advances such as this will help us achieve this goal."
Oncor installed three of these devices in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, in heavily wooded areas.
Jim Greer, vice president, asset management and engineering, Oncor said, "Sometimes a strong wind can make a tree blow and graze a line. Anytime a limb touches a power line, a connecting fuse is liable to blow, resulting in a customer outage. Even though no damage was done to the line, the power goes out. The TripSaver Dropout Recloser prevents those customers from experiencing that permanent outage. This device senses the severity of the problem and restores power if the problem no longer exists. It's the type of technological advance that will improve reliability for consumers over time."
Oncor is installing these devices as a part of a Smart Grid initiative in which the electric grid will monitor, think, act, repair and prepare itself to respond quickly to consumer needs. The term Smart Grid refers to the deployment of a number of advanced technologies on the Oncor system with the goal of ultimately improving service to three million homes and businesses by 2010. The Smart Grid will heal itself, sense outages as they occur, monitor equipment performance, report back on needed maintenance, and more, all of which will result in an increase in reliability and service quality.