New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) – a Texas based industry leading utility recently partnered with Sentient Energy to improve their energy operations and fault detection practices.
Sentient Energy’s Grid Analytics System consists of intelligent sensors, distributed apps, and the Ample Analytics suite. The Sentient Grid Analytics System combines intelligent sensors which are easily deployable on any power line with powerful management and analytics applications enabling utilities to detect faults, preempt problems, and deliver dependable power.
Recently while performing routine system checks using the Sentient Energy Grid Analytics System and Sentient Ample Software for line monitoring, an NBU Control Center Operator noticed a considerable amount of line disturbance at a substation off the highway. Sentient Energy’s Ample Software showed several disturbance spikes which correctly pointed to what ended up being a vegetation encroachment problem on 2 phases. New Braunfels Utilities was able to address the issue before an outage, and improved SAIFI, and therefore SAIDI by an estimated 2.66 minutes.
By catching this disturbance early, the team was able to prevent what could have been a sustained outage for over 880 customers. These efforts directly support the Tier 1 SAIFI goal by preventing sustained outages from happening.
New Braunfels Utilities’ Control Center Supervisor, Justin Stroupe, was pleased with these results and stated, “The line sensors are proving to be a great value to NBU; we have been able to prevent a possible feeder outage. This was accomplished by looking at the disturbances in the Sentient Ample Software and the Sentient MM3 Sensor was seeing hundreds of disturbances on B phase. We found some trees that were growing into the primary. The trees were trimmed back and it is apparent from the number of disturbances, that this was the problem.”
Ample Line Monitoring correctly pointed to a vegetation encroachment problem, trees growing into the primary, on 2 phases. By catching this disturbance early, the NBU team was able to:
· Prevent what could have been a sustained outage for more than 880 customers.
· Directly support the Tier 1 SAIFI goal by preventing sustained outages from happening.
· Address the issue before an outage.
· Improve SAIFI, and therefore SAIDI by an estimated three minutes.
“These efforts directly support the Tier 1 SAIFI goal by preventing sustained outages from happening. We estimate that this proactive work saved approximately 3 SAIDI minutes,” commented Ryan Kelso, NBU System Control Manager. “We are looking forward to a full utility implementation which will improve our operations’ reliability and phase balancing and reduce lineman work hours and outage times for customer satisfaction. Our goal is to become more proactive versus reactive to enhance customer satisfaction.”
Both New Braunfels Utilities and Sentient Energy agree this partnership and solution is a true success story and is a great testimonial for all aspects of the Sentient Energy Solution and NBU teamwork. New Braunfels Utilities and Sentient Energy have plans to expand the Sentient Energy Solution to underground and additional overhead deployments.