Elektrilevi invested 2.1 million euros to reduce power cuts
This year Elektrilevi has installed 2.1 million euros worth of automation in the power network to reduce the number of customers left without an electricity supply and to limit the duration of power cuts following a breakdown. The investments we have made over the years in automation have helped prevent power cuts in 184,400 households in this year alone.
“Automation is one of the most effective means of reducing the effect of breakdowns. Circuit breakers and fault indicators ensure that a power cut affects as few customers as possible following a breakdown and let us restore the power supply as soon as possible,” explains Jaanus Tiisvend, head of Elektrilevi’s Asset Management. However he notes that the number of automatic devices in the network is about to reach its optimum and after that the only way to achieve a noticeable leap in the quality of power supply will be to upgrade the network further.
On-load disconnectors and circuit breakers help isolate parts of the line so that the breakdown does not affect other sections of the line and fewer customers are left without electricity. Fault indicators can significantly shorten the time it takes us to find a tree that has fallen on the line. “Searching for breakdowns in long lines going through forests is very time-consuming, and it usually takes us longer to find the breakdown than to repair the line,” Tiisvend explains.
In forest areas even branches that touch the lines for an instant in a strong wind can cause a breakdown and leave households without electricity because of a short circuit. An automatic circuit breaker installed in the network tries to re-energise the line without any command from the dispatch centre for some twenty seconds, so the power supply can be restored after a power cut in a matter of seconds instead of the twenty minutes or more that would earlier have been required for a repair team to react.
As well as reducing the number of customers affected by breakdowns, the upgrade of the network and the installation of automatic devices has had an effect on the duration of power cuts. The average length of a power cut per customer was 119 minutes in the first nine months of last year, but this has been cut by almost a quarter to 92 minutes this year.
Elektrilevi is a network operator that supplies electricity to households and companies and maintains and repairs the power network. The company manages the maintenance of almost 61,000 kilometres of power lines and more than 22,000 substations. In 2011 Elektrilevi invested 73 million euros in the power network, and it is planning to invest another 97 million euros this year. The company invests all of its operating profit in improving the quality of the power network every year.