AusNet Services has taken home two Victoria Engineering Excellence Awards for technologies developed in-house to improve the safe and reliable supply of electricity to its customers.
Winning highly commended recognition in the ‘Product design and smart systems’ category, these technologies protect customers from electric shocks, and automatically restores power supply after faults within a minute.
AusNet Services Managing Director, Nino Ficca, said that these technologies embody the company’s commitment to improving customer services through network modernisation.
“I’m very proud of what our employees have achieved,” Mr Ficca said.
“Both of these in-house developed technologies are industry leading in Australia, if not internationally, and are already protecting our customers from dangerous electric shocks and improving their electricity reliability,” he said.
The first technology is an analytical-based application using smart meter network data (e.g., property voltage levels) to detect unsafe neutral connections from street powerlines into properties and predict future failures that can cause dangerous electric shocks to customers.
“Since 2013, our technology has identified and allowed the removal of nearly 1000 safety hazards that could have resulted in electric shocks to customers,” Mr Ficca said.
The second, the Distribution Feeder Automation (DFA), is a centralised autonomous ‘real-time’ fault location, isolation, and rerouting scheme that restores supply within 60 seconds to customers of a nearby fault.
“Previously, when a fault occurred, such as a tree falling over a powerline, the electricity supply would be disrupted along a large part of the powerline, affecting many customers,” Mr Ficca said.
“Now, the DFA technology instantly pinpoints the fault on the powerline and automatically operates remote-controlled switches to safely re-route the electricity supply around the fault to restore power to the majority of customers.”
“The process is completed usually under a minute, radically reducing the unnecessary time customers were without power while crews physically patrolled the powerline to find and fix the fault.”
During a storm event, the DFA technology automatically restored electricity supply to 11,500 customers in less than a minute, effectively halving the number of customers that were without power until powerline damage from fallen trees was repaired.