GE helps UK power distributor minimize downtime with automated power restoration system

GE’s Digital Energy business announced that UK Power Networks—the U.K.’s largest power distribution company—is the first to implement its latest release of its Automated Power Restoration System (APRS) on a live system.

UK Power Networks will be deploying this latest innovative technology, a module of GE’s PowerOn advanced distribution management system (ADMS), across its high-voltage networks in London, the Southeast and East Anglia throughout this year.

On April 1, 2015, the U.K. is entering into a new eight-year regulatory period, with all electricity utilities being reevaluated with new metrics and targets. These include the number of power interruptions customers have and customer minutes lost (the length of the power interruption).

GE’s APRS helps distribution companies improve their operational performance and asset use capabilities by leveraging big data to drive operational efficiency. Essentially, this forward-thinking technology is a key component that helps transition electrical system management from the standard “break-and-fix” theory to more of a “predict-and-prevent” model.

The technology allows radial and lightly meshed circuits with different feeder topologies to be automatically and optimally restored when a fault is detected. When a fault occurs on the network, APRS uses telemetered fault detection/location devices to locate the network section containing the fault.

It then analyzes the faulted circuit and its neighboring circuits to determine the size of the outage and spare capacity on potential donor circuits. Next, the APRS isolates the faulted section and restores power supply upstream and downstream of the isolated section. With APRS, restorations typically occur within a minute or less of a fault being detected—depending on the utility’s communication infrastructure.

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