EPB Plans to Get Maximun Use from “Intelliruptors”

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) – Storms that hit the Tennessee Valley frequently cause power outages, as anyone who was here in April of 2011 knows.
That series of tornadoes put three out of every four households in the dark.
But, EPB thinks it is prepared to handle those problems better now—thanks to something called an "IntelliRuptor".

SOUND OF THE DEVICE ACTIVATED

That’s not the sound of a transformer malfunction on a utility pole. But it is loud, and EPB has had plenty of calls from residents asking about the noise.
That sharp metallic clank—is one of the reasons the electric company held a demonstration for the Intellirupter.
It’s actually a "good" noise.

HOUSTON THOMAS, EPB, MGR. OF CONSTRUCTION  "What you’re hearing is actually the smart grid working….if you hear an intellirupter going through pulses and going through the test..its actually the smart grid doing its job."

JIM GLASS, EPB, MGR. SMART GROUP DEVELOPMENT  "They’ve got voltage and current sensors built into them. And they can sense a problem on the line such as a tree that falls into the line or something like that, they will open up to de-energize that line..then they can actually close and test it."

EPB explains that there are about 1200 of these devices on-line across it’s service area. Their job is more than just regulating electric power.

JIM GLASS  "All of these switches are connected to EPB fiber optics system…so they talk to one another and based on what each one of them as seen, they are able to isolate the problem area and reroute power around that."

The intellirupters have actually been up since 2012, but with the EPB Smart Grid they are more effective than ever.
The system actually puts this area ahead of most around the country because there are so many more switches–one for every 150 customers.
What does a major power outage cost industry and private home annually?

JIM GLASS  "Across the country it was about 80-billion dollars…and we brought that same figure to looking at the population of our service territory, and it was estimated and it was estimated to be close to 100 million dollars a year."

With the intellirupter, EPB hopes to hold losses from power outages to less than 50-million dollars a year.

Categories: Business, Consumer News, Environment, Local News

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