Skip to main content.

FISR has saved more than 1 million Alabama Power customers from outages

Across Alabama, more than 1.5 million customers — homes, schools, businesses, industries — rely on Alabama Power to deliver the electricity they need, reliably and affordably. That’s especially important in times of severe weather or other events that can cause short circuits, or “faults,” in the electric grid — massive overloads that can damage the system and result in outages.

Fault Isolation and Service Restoration (FISR) technology works as part of Alabama Power’s “smart grid” to minimize the impact of power outages. (file)

As part of its commitment to customer service, Alabama Power is an industry leader in implementing “smart grid” technology solutions that enhance automation and security. One of those solutions is Fault Isolation and Service Restoration (FISR, or “Fizzer”) technology. Since 2019, deployment of FISR has enabled Alabama Power to prevent more than 1 million customers from experiencing sustained outages.

FISR is an advanced application that continuously monitors Alabama Power’s electric grid. It locates outages, identifies the faulted section of line, isolates the outage, and generates a plan for redirecting power.

“This technology allows us to isolate a fault in the distribution system, so we can redirect power during outages and restore service to customers in areas not directly affected,” explained Ben Ayer, the Power Delivery Technology supervisor who leads the team responsible for FISR. “It creates efficiencies for the company, helping to pinpoint faults and reduce the distance our repair crews have to travel to address them.

The impact of storm-related power outages can now be minimized through Alabama Power’s FISR. (file)

“FISR helps us get the lights back on faster.”

FISR is a crucial asset during severe weather, when most widespread outages occur. Heavy rains and high winds often result in tree limbs and flying debris contacting power lines, which can result in faults.

One of the most extreme tests of FISR occurred in October 2020, when Hurricane Zeta struck Alabama. At the storm’s peak, approximately 433,000 Alabama Power customers were without power. Across the affected area, 6,000 spans of power line were down, 1,250 poles broken, and 500 transformers destroyed. FISR implemented 84 restoration plans, restoring nearly 46,000 customers, with nearly two-thirds of restored sections retaining power throughout the remainder of the severe weather.

Ayer said that FISR is an investment in making the distribution grid more resilient while enhancing its reliability, noting that, on average, FISR isolates an outage and restores power in 20 seconds,. With an outage confined to an isolated area, repair crews can respond faster and fewer customers are impacted, helping Alabama Power achieve its most important goal.

“FISR is reducing the customer impact during outages,” Ayer said. “That is an important part of keeping our commitment of reliable service to Alabama.”