S&C Electric Co. has announced an agreement with Florida Power & Light for the TripSaver II Cutout-Mounted Reclosers to be installed throughout the utility's system to reduce momentary outages for its 4.7 million customers. As part of its commitment to Florida, S&C will make a $3 million investment to expand its operations in the state by creating a new manufacturing facility for the TripSaver II. This new manufacturing facility and the deployment of the TripSaver II is estimated to bring 170 new jobs to the state of Florida.
Florida experiences more thunderstorms and lightning strikes than any other state in the United States, and these storms often cause faults on the electric grid. A majority of these faults are temporary in nature, but can still cause protective equipment to operate, resulting in outages for customers. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that these temporary, or momentary, outages cost electricity users across the nation billions of dollars each year.
"FPL has made a historic first step in the utility industry by taking action to reduce momentary interruptions for its customers," says Mike Edmonds, Vice President – U.S. Business, S&C Electric Company. "Based on government research, we estimate that the use of TripSaver II will provide as much as $500,000 annually in cost savings for electricity users on each main feeder as well as provide significant reductions in operating expenses that will benefit FPL and its customers."
The TripSaver II is an electronically controlled single-phase recloser that can self-clear transient faults on lateral lines, avoiding the need to "blink" or disturb the main feeder and other lateral lines. When fault current is detected, the TripSaver II opens, waits and then closes again to test if the fault current is still present. If the fault is temporary, the TripSaver II restores power in seconds, preventing an extended outage for customers without creating any momentary disruptions to electricity users on other lines. If the fault is permanent, such as a tree falling on the power lines, then the TripSaver II coordinates with other protective devices to isolate the fault, limiting the number of customers affected by an outage.
"Starting in 2015, we will install S&C's devices across FPL's thousands of neighborhood power lines to reduce the duration and frequency of outages lasting less than one minute," says Eric Silagy, President and Chief Executive Officer, FPL. "This tool will provide us with more details about outages, enable grid self-healing measures and speed restoration. Every time we use technology instead of sending a truck to investigate an outage, it saves us time and money while also improving our 99.98 percent reliability rate even more. Our customers, particularly our business customers, benefit by being more productive and competitive."
The new manufacturing facility, to be located in Palm Beach County, will be in addition to S&C's existing engineering operation offices in Orlando. The first TripSaver IIs will be deployed on FPL's system in January 2015, with additional units being deployed steadily over the next five years.