- PPL Electric Utilities analyzed outage data over a four-year period to conclude its system reliability work had helped avoid almost 200,000 outages so far this year, Fierce Energy reports.
- Installation of smart grid technology, improvements to tree trimming and stronger poles and wires have all played a role in making the system 20% more reliable, the company said.
- Reliability is expected to continue to improve, but the utility is paying about $1 billion annually to continue enhancing its system.
PPL Electric Utilities' investments in its distribution system are paying off in ways customers will, happily, never see. In the first six months of this year the utility said it avoided almost 200,000 power outages.
"Our investments are really paying off for our customers," Greg Dudkin, president of PPL Electric Utilities, said in a statement. "As we continue to use technology and harden our system even further, people will enjoy even more reliability in the future."
PPL said it has been installing smart grid technology, working harder on vegetation management, and installing stronger poles and wires — to the tune of more than $1 billion per year. Customers are seeing about 20% fewer outages as a result, and the company said reliability is expected to improve another 20% in the next five years.
PPL examined historical outage data from 2008 to 2011, the period before the utility began significant reliability investments, to help calculate the number of avoided outages. The company projected that four-year outage trend forward, estimating how many outages there would have been in the first half of this year (assuming no additional system improvements). That figure was then compared to actual outages.
PPL ultimately found that its smart grid and reliability work had prevented 190,765 outages in the first half of 2015. The utility serves more than 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania.