A Power and Water Corporation trial of devices used to anticipate and locate faults on long stretches of overhead powerlines in Darwin’s rural area is set to help improve power supply and reliability for customers.

The distribution fault anticipation (DFA) project, which saw six DFA devices installed on feeders in Darwin’s rural area, was also shortlisted for Energy Networks Australia’s Innovation Award in September 2019.

Power and Water Chief Executive, Michael Thomson, said the company is extremely proud to have been recognised among industry peers across Australia.

“This project challenged conventional beliefs of fault behaviour and feeder performance, particularly the view that wildlife-related outages in the dry season are sporadic and transient,” Mr Thomson said.

“Power and Water is always looking to improve the way we do things to enrich the future of Territorians by providing safe and reliable electricity supply.”

Power and Water was recognised for using highly-sensitive yet cost-effective online monitoring systems to send alerts of developing faults and identify likely causes of previously unknown power outages, particularly those which are non-weather related.

The preliminary trial results and modelling has helped Power and Water accurately identify the location and likely cause of power outages, leading to improved responses as well as plans for future investment.

The DFA devices were installed on the Dundee feeder which has more than 200kms of overhead powerlines spanning native bushland, farmland and mangrove swamps.

The trial, a first for an Australian utility, was conducted in partnership with LORD Consulting.

“Until we conducted the trial, up to 40 per cent of power supply outages in the area were due to unknown causes,” Mr Thomson said.

“The information we have will help us get power back to our customers more quickly while also ensuring the reliability of our network.

“It has also given us the confidence to consider implementing this on other feeders in the wider Darwin rural network and in the regions.”

Power and Water has more than 30 overhead feeders in Darwin’s rural area.

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