Power grid company introducing automated line failure tech following storms

Power line repair in Võru County following Sunday's storm.
Power line repair in Võru County following Sunday's storm. Source: Jaanus Tanilsoo/Elektrilevi

Following Sunday's storms which left tens of thousands of households in Estonia without power, grid distributor Elektrilevi has announced it will introduce new technology to detect line faults.

While the bulk of electricity connections are back on line at the time of writing, there are still large numbers of customers in the worst hit areas in southern Estonia, who still don't have a connection, and may have to wait even longer for a restoration of power.

Part of the problem is the method of detecting failed lines, carried out by examining lines individually.

The new proposed solutions should be labor-saving and include drone overflights, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) surveying methods.

According to Rasmus Armas, Head of Asset Management at Elektrilevi, these solutions, which will be carried out in conjunction with the Land Board (Maa-amet), will mean reducing the reliance on visual checks by personnel.

"We already use drones on a daily basis for scheduled network reviews, but we also want to apply them to exceptional events. This would allow us to quickly review the medium-voltage overhead line and detect trees or other problems on the lines," Armas said, according to ERR's online Estonian news.

Armas added that Elektrilevi plans to deploy a new network management system to automatically detect a malfunction throughout the network, with a Fault Location, Isolation and Service Restoration (FLISR) solution also slated, which facilitates forecasting faults using network measurements, and also to restore power via swtiches.

Elektrilevi says it deals with such issues on around 3,000 km of electricity cables per year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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