Smart grid improvements have been a major factor in allowing the utility to reduce the number of outages by 30 percent since 2007. The next five years are expected to bring another 15 percent improvement.
The company reports about 4,600 smart grid switches have been installed across its service area since 2012, when the first smart grid pilot project launched in the Harrisburg area. Now, there are smart grid devices nearly everywhere on the utility’s system which covers all or part of 29 counties in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
These switches, and the computer brains behind them, automatically detect a problem on the grid and work within minutes to isolate the affected area and reroute power around the trouble spot.
Included in the total number of switches installed so far are about 600 switches added this year. More installations are planned over the next few years and the system should be fully outfitted by the end of 2020. By that time, more than 5,000 smart grid switches will be part of the PPL grid.
The utility’s smart grid work recently was honored by the Southeast Electric Exchange, an industry group, with an Industry Excellence Award. PPL’s reliability satisfaction score is among the leaders nationwide, according to J.D. Power.