Elektrilevi eliminated 65% of storm-related power outages within two hours
Elektrilevi eliminated 65% of the power outages within two hours during the storm, 90% or 76,837 customers were returned electricity within six hours. The highest number of outages occurred in Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Harjumaa and Lääne-Virumaa where Elektrilevi’s more than 85,000 customers experienced failures.
“When eliminating failures caused by storm winds, our main challenge is to restore the electricity connection of all households and companies as soon as possible,” said Mihkel Härm, CEO of Elektrilevi. “During the peak hours, there were about 50 brigades working all over Estonia dealing with failure localization and switching, restoring the power for the majority of customers within a few hours. Our failure brigades were ready to respond when the storm began and started operating as soon as the first notifications of outages were received. The work continued around the clock until all customers had electricity restored.”
In Saaremaa, which was hit hardest by the storm, the longest interruptions in some households lasted for a few days.
According to Mihkel Härm, Elektrilevi is actively engaged in balancing between increasing the reliability of the power network and maintaining a reasonable price level. “We are working on a daily basis to make the distribution network more weatherproof, and this is paramount when making investment decisions,” Mihkel Härm said. “We have increased the share of weatherproof network in the low-voltage area to 92%, and consequently, the number of failures has more than halved over the last ten years.”
Elektrilevi is continuing to build a weatherproof network – underground cables are being installed and overhead lines are being insulated to reduce the impact of weather phenomena on end customers. Elektrilevi is also contributing to the automation of the distribution network in order to restore the electricity supply to as many consumers as possible within seconds without any human intervention in the event of a failure.
“Failures in technically complex systems are inevitable and we are ready to eliminate them immediately together with our partners,” Mihkel Härm said. “To ensure readiness, we regularly train our operational staff and make improvements to the failure elimination process. For large-scale power outages, we include drones that make it much easier to identify the causes. While in the past, network electricians had to walk for kilometres along power line corridors to find the point of failure, now this work is done by a drone, significantly speeding up the elimination process.”
The automation of the electricity distribution network is currently at a level where most failures become known to the control centre within a fraction of a second after the faulty part of the network has switched off. Elektrilevi automatically notifies consumers of such failures via the MARU application at elektrilevi.ee/maru or via SMS.
On 17 January, MARU was used 12,500 times, which is 10 times more than usual.
“Our desire is to improve communication between customers and Elektrilevi, because the lesson of the last storm is how to inform the customers of the exact time the failure is eliminated and how to improve the flow of information in a situation where Elektrilevi knows the failure has been eliminated but the customer still does not have electricity,” Mihkel Härm said.
Elektrilevi’s MARU app allows you to see failure notifications related to your point of consumption and to notify Elektrilevi if you have no power. In addition, it is possible to report hazardous situations. Unfortunately, Elektrilevi does not immediately see failure events in the low-voltage network.Therefore, in the event of a power failure, proceed as follows:
The storm winds that blew on 17 and 20 January caused power outages for many consumers and kept Elektrilevi's network electricians and operational staff occupied. Gusts of wind in some places were over 33 m/s, causing a lot of power outages mostly in Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Harjumaa and Lääne-Virumaa.
Elektrilevi is the largest network company in Estonia, managing approximately 63,000 kilometres of power lines and 25,300 substations. The company has 533,000 customers.