New Braunfels Utilities Deploys Sentient Energy Line Sensors for Underground Visibility

June 6, 2022
Extends underground visibility, fault detection, and load monitoring further along residential distribution circuits

Sentient Energy, a Koch Engineered Solutions company and provider of advanced grid monitoring and analytics for electric utilities, installed its UM1 underground line sensors in New Braunfels Utilities’ growing underground residential distribution (URD) system.

NBU, a public power organization in New Braunfels, Texas, uses strategies such as overhead and underground line sensors, distribution analytics, strategic vegetation management techniques and data-driven planning and maintenance to ensure quality service to its customers.

“New Braunfels Utilities has utilized Sentient Energy solutions to help improve grid operations and fault detection practices for several years,” said NBU Systems Control Manager Justin Stroupe. “Our population has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. As our economy and population grow, safety, reliability, and efficiency are the primary objectives of NBU. We have had success with Sentient Energy sensors and analytics, which have delivered important measurable results over the years. We are anticipating building on this success with the addition of Sentient Energy’s UM1 to our single phase underground residential distribution systems.”

The UM1 allows NBU to extend underground line sensing beyond feeder lines to include laterals or URD. Sentient Energy’s UM1 provides remote visibility, fault detection and load monitoring in single-phase transformer cabinets. It allows utilities to improve reliability, system visibility and better manage assets all the way out to the grid edge.

Leveraging the UM1 for underground line sensing, NBU can now:

  • Locate faults more precisely to reduce patrol time and outage durations (and CAIDI/SAIDI metrics).
  • Use system load data from more locations to improve load profiling and capacity planning.
  • Determine true loading on transformers to identify overloading and improve asset management.

Sentient Energy’s Grid Analytics System consists of the MM3 and ZM1 overhead sensors, UM3+ and UM1 underground sensors, and the Ample Analytics Platform. These solutions work in concert to provide utilities with optimal electric distribution system visibility to improve reliability and enable data-driven operational decision making.

Sentient Energy’s intelligent sensing solutions are used globally by utilities of every size and is deployed in over 25 of North America’s largest utilities.

New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) was established in 1942 and is one of 2,000 community-owned, nonprofit public power electric utilities in the nation. The mission of NBU is to enhance the quality of our community by providing innovative, essential services.

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