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‘Self-healing’ technology helps electricity network get ‘winter ready’

Homes and businesses across the East, South East and London are benefitting from new technology which is helping reduce the length of power cuts to record lows ahead of the winter storm season.

From Press releases - 6 December 2017 12:00 AM

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The country’s biggest electricity distributor UK Power Networks has invested in state-of-the-art control systems that redirect power supplies when a problem occurs and redirect supplies quickly when power cuts happen.

UK Power Networks has gradually increased its use of the innovative Automated Power Restoration System (APRS) technology in recent years and it is now the benchmark for other similar companies across the country.

In the past year, the firm has added an APRS to an extra 1,164 APRS locations and introduced control to 712 secondary substations to create a ‘self-healing’ grid.

When the system detects any problem on the local cables and electricity substations, it uses satellite communications to instantly choose the most suitable alternative cable circuit and switch supplies across, without manual intervention.

Residents’ lights can go off for just a few minutes while the technology does its job. The original fault can then be investigated and resolved by engineers while the power is routed round the properties affected by the fault.

The new technology is a major factor in UK Power Networks consistently running one of the best-performing electricity networks in the country, and has reduced the interruptions and duration of power cuts by 18% since 2014.

UK Power Networks control systems and automation manager, John Duller, said: “We have strived to make our control systems and automation ability industry-leading, and we are feeling the benefits of this innovative work now.

“We were the first electricity distributor to introduce APRS in 2015 and now have the largest deployment of automation in the UK with more than 92% coverage across our regions.”

UK Power Networks delivers power to more than eight million homes and businesses across the East of England, the South East and across London. If residents ever have a power cut they can call the company for free on 105, and engineers will fix it.

Anyone who would feel vulnerable during a power cut, can also sign up to a Priority Services Register to receive free extra help (during a power cut), at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk