Automation technology reduces length of power cuts

Automation technology reduces length of power cuts

New technology that helps reduce the length of power cuts is being used across the East, South East and London.

The country's biggest electricity distributor UK Power Networks has invested in state-of-the-art control systems that redirect power supplies quickly when power cuts happen. 

The company has gradually increased its use of the innovative Automated Power Restoration System (APRS) technology in recent years and it is now the benchmark for other similar companies across the country.

The company has a total of 5,720 high voltage circuits now fitted with the APRS switching logic which represents 92% of the firm's total high voltage circuits. When a high voltage faults occurs APRS instructions remotely control switches to open or close to restore supply to as many customers as possible. UKPN has a total of 30,500 high voltage substations with remotely controlled switches.

When the system detects any problem on the local cables and electricity substations, it uses satellite communications to instantly choose the most suitable alternative cable circuit and switch supplies across, without manual intervention.

Residents' lights go off for just a few minutes while the technology does its job. The original fault can then be investigated and resolved by engineers while the power is routed round the properties affected by the fault.

UK Power Networks control systems and automation manager, John Duller, said: "We have strived to make our control systems and automation ability industry-leading, and we are feeling the benefits of this innovative work now.

"We were the first electricity distributor to introduce APRS in 2015 and now have the largest deployment of automation in the UK with more than 92% coverage across our regions."

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