safety is a term that is often understood. It is often assumed to mean those
actions that are required to reduce the life threatening events. It can have that meaning, but I prefer
to use it in a broader context with respect to damage assessment, emergency
response and emergency repairs.
Mohave Desert the Landers earthquake broke and caused power distribution
systems disruptions from Santa Barbara to San Diego along the West
Coast. Many electric utilities
were aware that a major earthquake had just happened, but it wasn’t
until customers started calling in to get their power turned back on that
anyone knew the magnitude of that disruption. Distribution power lines with slack
spans between poles slapped together, faulted and burned down. These disruptions were widely
scattered and the impact on the utility was not realized for more than six
hours. The locations also did not
follow any previously anticipated pattern, which further slowed the repairs
process. More rapid methods of
collecting data, identifying damage and its location is an opportunity that
exists throughout all electric utility facilities, but can be extremely
helpful in the distribution system.
only very large customers are monitored remotely to determine what their
power usage is at any particular time.
Opportunities exist to remotely sense customer service outages by
circuits, customer types and areas, similar to the customer outage
information that was being distributed through the internet during
California’s rolling blackouts.