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CEO Corner

strategy and technology improve reliability

White River Valley Electric Cooperative’s primary goal is to deliver the highest possible quality electric service at an affordable price. For some, that measurement may equate the number of times their lights blink.

Our grid is designed to use technology to improve reliability by reducing blinks and outages. WRVEC installs protective devices in the form of fuses and reclosers (high-voltage circuit breakers) along the power lines. Fuses and reclosers serve the same purpose as the fuses and breakers do in your home.

A fuse is a one-shot device. When a fault occurs, the fuse blows and everyone downline from it loses power. Reclosers are multi-shot devices, meaning they can operate a few times (causing blinks) before an outage occurs. Building multiple ways to feed power loads and the deployment of advanced metering systems (AMI), for example, is the perfect partnership of operations and smart technologies to keep you connected. These blinks are a nuisance, but they eliminate many extended outages by protecting the grid from serious damage.

Eventually, there will be a power outage despite our best efforts. That is where AMI and outage management systems (OMS) earn their keep. The basic element of an AMI is a meter that can communicate with the co-op. The OMS maps system data and meter locations into a piece of software that models the electric grid. When a device on the grid reports loss of power, the OMS runs calculations to determine the exact location of the fault and the number of members impacted.
Now, the whole suite of systems WRVEC uses comes into play. Our dispatchers can call out a crew to the exact location of the problem and a mapped outage with number of impacted members is generated on our website. For members who have signed up for SmartHub, they receive a notification stating there’s an outage and another when power is restored.

The result of all this technology minimizes outages and their duration, plus enables up-to-date information for you, our members. It’s impossible to eliminate outages and blinks altogether, but we continue to see remarkable improvements with strategic, smart technologies.