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DTE Energy Releases Report at DistribuTECH Showing Power Outages Can Be Prevented

Feb. 5, 2015
The “Predictive Grid Quarterly Report” is First Milestone of the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment, Now Available for Download

Tollgrade Communications, Inc.'s first Predictive Grid Quarterly Report is now available for download. This is the first of eight reports to be released under Tollgrade’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action for a comprehensive grid modernization project with DTE Energy entitled, “Building a Predictive Grid for the Motor City.”  To modernize its grid, DTE Energy is deploying Tollgrade LightHouse® Smart Grid Sensors with the goal of preventing and reducing the length of power outages throughout the Detroit metropolitan area over the next two years.

“This is the first report to conclusively show that many types of power outages can be prevented,” said Edward H. Kennedy, President and CEO, Tollgrade Communications, Inc. “The report shares the findings from our CGI project with DTE Energy and accounts from other deployments including an instance where Tollgrade’s LightHouse Smart Grid sensors helped a large utility in the northeast U.S. avoid an outage that would have impacted 2,000 customers for nearly three hours in December. The Tollgrade LightHouse solution found this event in less than six weeks of being deployed on the power lines.”

It is estimated that U.S. businesses lose on average $15,709 every 30 minutes during a power outage. These losses add up quickly and annually cost the U.S. $104 billion - $164 billion nationwide. Another $15 billion - $20 billion is lost annually due to power quality disturbances such as “Momentaries,” which are short outages that cause clocks to blink, computers to lose their data or manufacturing lines to stop unexpectedly, damaging equipment. The Tollgrade LightHouse platform is the only solution to provide advanced detection of outages by classifying and detecting “Line Disturbance” events and Momentaries. Using the data, utilities can predict outages to avoid them or in the event of bad weather when outages are unavoidable, get the lights back on faster. 

“Through our CGI commitment with Tollgrade, we have a goal to prevent 10 outages a year over the next two years in the DTE Energy service territory where the LightHouse system is deployed,” said Vince Dow, Vice President Distribution Operations, DTE Energy. “Not only does the solution help us to classify events that can prevent power outages, it will also help us to get vital information to our crews to restore power outages faster when they are unavoidable. This will positively impact the Detroit area economy.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • 86 percent of the events classified by Tollgrade LightHouse sensors over the last six months were “Line Disturbances”, short-lived fault events that do not trip protection devices or typically raise alarms. Four percent of total events were permanent outages and 10 percent of total events were momentary outages.
  • Line Disturbances and permanent outages follow a similar pattern, indicating that Line Disturbances are important precursors to power outages and should be closely monitored as a new category essential to preventing future outages.
  • After three months of monitoring, Tollgrade classified three of the actual events that caused power outages on the DTE Energy network including underground cable failure, wire contact and pole top transformer failure. With early detection of these power outages in place, they will be more likely to be avoided in the future.   

Report Available at DistribuTECH Feb. 3-5, 2015 in Booth #1201

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