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Latest generation of self-healing power system is a world first

New technology will help UK Power Networks restore electricity supplies quicker after power cuts.

From Press releases - 4 March 2015 12:00 AM

New technology will help UK Power Networks restore electricity supplies quicker after power cuts.

The company’s London electricity network is the first in the world to apply the latest new software designed to further limit the impact of power cuts on homes and businesses. The system isolates faults on electricity cables and substations and can restore power to healthy parts of the network within a matter of minutes.

Developed by GE’s Digital Energy business, the ‘Automated Power Restoration System’ (APRS) is being extended across UK Power Networks’ high-voltage network in London, the South East and East Anglia throughout this year.

Steve White, head of network operations and control, said: “Over the years we have invested heavily in automation on our networks to reduce the impact of power interruptions. This technology is the latest development in self-healing power systems to benefit our customers.

“Our IT systems are getting smarter all the time to help us restore electricity supplies quickly and safely. We want to be at the forefront of innovations which will provide even more secure power supplies in the future. This new technology positions us to meet the UK’s new power regulations and equips us with the advanced electricity control management capabilities we need to be better prepared if a power cut occurs.”

The APRS technology is integrated into GE’s PowerOn Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS). This virtual model of the electricity network allows UK Power Networks’ control engineers to remotely operate switches to restore electricity supplies much quicker than if an engineer had to reach every site to manually operate equipment. The APRS system activates when a ‘circuit breaker’ operates on that system. The software ‘talks’ to the sites where remote control and monitoring devices are fitted, using fault indicators to pinpoint approximately where the fault lies. It can then instruct other parts of the network to switch back on supply.

Keith Redfearn, general manager, software solutions for GE’s Digital Energy business, said: “This latest APRS project builds on our long-standing relationship with UK Power Networks. For more than 15 years we have been supplying the company and its predecessors with our PowerOn ADMS software solutions and our Smallworld geospatial information system, helping to improve the resilience of their networks.”