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PPL Smart Grid Tops One Million Avoided Customer Outages Since 2015

Sept. 6, 2020
Automated power restoration is key to keeping the lights on.

PPL Electric Utilities has avoided more than a million power outages since 2015, thanks to smart grid technology that instantaneously reroutes power in the event of a problem, keeping the outage area contained to the smallest possible footprint.

In the past five-plus years, PPL estimates its smart grid automated power restoration network has helped customers avoid 100 million minutes in the dark in preventing those one million outages. These minutes translate into more than 190 years.

"This is a milestone born of innovation and imagination, one we believe has no equal in the U.S. utility industry," said PPL Electric Utilities President Greg Dudkin. "It represents our commitment to using technology to benefit our customers and to providing superior reliability."

The smart grid network — a combination of state-of-the-art sensors and switches, coupled with advanced software systems — is part of a significant investment made by PPL in the power grid overall, over the past decade.

During that time, the company has rebuilt aging power lines, added more storm-resistant wires and poles, and instituted data-driven equipment maintenance and replacement programs. Other initiatives, like a comprehensive tree trimming and removal program, also play a significant role in reliability improvements over time.

PPL's collective reliability efforts, bolstered by its smart grid gains, have reduced the average frequency of outages across its grid by nearly a third since 2011.

A battery in service near Harrisburg is intended to provide power to customers in the event of an outage on the line serving their rural area. The customer experience would be essentially the same as smart grid automated power restoration, except instead of reconnecting to the grid, homes would be temporarily powered by the battery. The technology is being considered for other areas in the PPL footprint.

For more information on PPL's smart grid, visit here.

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