During the tornado outbreaks on March 17 and 25, Alabama Power’s Storm Team was on alert and ready to respond when customers experienced outages. Thanks to the company’s strategic investments in smart grid technology, fewer customers lost power – and some of those affected were restored faster than ever before.
Alabama Power’s advanced electric grid and power systems reduced the number of affected customers by 58%, saving 12.4 million customer minutes of interruption during these severe weather events.
Heavy rains and high winds often result in tree limbs and flying debris contacting power lines, causing electric short circuits that create massive overloads that can damage the electric grid. These short circuits – or “faults” – result in customer outages. Through smart grid investments, Alabama Power systems isolate the fault, redirecting power and restoring service to customers in unaffected sections.
Technology enhancements have also created efficiencies for the company. During the March events, automated applications identified the locations of more than 1,100 faults and reduced the distance crews needed to patrol by 320 miles.
“Technology helps us keep the power on for as many customers as possible, using both automation and remote operation,” said Scott Moore, Alabama Power senior vice president of Power Delivery. “Most importantly, as we saw with recent storms, these upgrades help us get our customers’ lights back on faster and limit the number of customers affected by service disruption.”
Alabama Power has been an industry leader in developing innovative technology solutions to enhance the security and automation of its electric grid.
“Our customers are at the center of all we do, and a huge part of this commitment is to ensure we are providing the most reliable and resilient service possible,” Moore said. “Technology has created enhanced opportunities for us to efficiently and effectively power homes and businesses.”
Fiber and automated devices, called reclosers, provide Alabama Power the best intel and data for optimal restoration during outage events. This technology allows the company to respond and restore power faster than ever.
“Having a real-time, data-processing network on the grid is crucial to security and reliability,” Moore said.
The company continues to test and implement new grid technologies, with more applications set for 2021. To learn more about Alabama Power’s connectivity initiative, visit AlabamaPower.com/Fiber.