Reliability

Association recognizes public power utilities for reliability performance

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The American Public Power Association has recognized 129 public power utilities with a "certificate of excellence" for reliable performance, as shown by comparing their outage records against nationwide data gathered by the Energy Information Administration.

These utilities track their reliability data via the Association's web-based subscription service, called eReliability Tracker, which lets utilities collect, categorize and summarize their outage information.

Subscribing utilities use the eReliability Tracker Service to store their outage and restoration data and run reports throughout the year. At the end of the year, the Association benchmarks their data against national statistics from the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, which is a branch of the Department of Energy.

Utilities that place in the top quartile of reliability nationwide, as measured against the EIA's data on System Average Interruption Duration Index, or SAIDI, receive the certificate of excellence. The EIA information comes from the agency's annual surveys of electric power utilities via EIA Form 861.

Public power utilities have a long history of providing reliable electric service, noted Michael Hyland, the Association's senior vice president of Engineering Services.

“The certificates of excellence are a great way to highlight public power's dedication to reliability,” he said.

One of the utilities recognized by the Association was Braintree Electric Light Department, which is based in Braintree, Mass.

“Braintree Electric is honored to be recognized by APPA for our outstanding reliability performance in 2017,” said Ken Stone, energy services manager at the utility. The award “recognizes the hard work and dedication of our operations employees for getting the lights back on as quickly and as safely as possible.  To be recognized for having outstanding reliability on a national level is truly a credit to our dedicated employees and well-maintained electric system,” he said.

The eReliability Tracker, which was first released by the Association in 2012, performs many calculations, including SAIDI, System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI), Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI), Momentary Average Interruption Frequency Index (MAIFI) and Average Service Availability Index (ASAI).

Braintree’s Stone said that using the eReliability Tracker software is a great way for utilities to identify areas in their service territory that may require infrastructure upgrades or additional tree-trimming efforts. Once the outage data is entered into the system, the software will provide detailed outage statistics so utilities can quickly identify circuits that may require additional attention to improve reliability, he said.

When asked to detail how Braintree Electric has specifically leveraged the eReliability Tracker in terms of keeping track of outage information, Stone said the utility uses the outage information to “compare circuits on our system and to look for root causes of the outages, which for us, are mostly animal (squirrel) related. We also look into the duration of outages and look at ways to reduce outage time by reviewing fuse coordination, adding new re-closers, animal guards or switches.”

For more information about the Association's reliability programs and services, visit publicpower.org/reliability.

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