Powering Strong Communities

DEED project demonstrates costs and benefits of reclosers in Florida

Replacing fuses with reclosers can lead to a “notable” reduction in the number and duration of outages, according to the results of a Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) project in Florida.

The project, Demonstration Project to Achieve Cost Effective Reliability Improvement Using Single Phase Reclosers, involved the demonstration of advanced reclosers at three Florida utilities: the Town of Havana, Keys Energy in Key West, and the City of Tallahassee. The Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), an Orlando-based wholesale power agency, applied for the DEED grant and managed the project on behalf of the member utilities.

The TripSaver II Cutout Mounted Recloser manufactured by S&C Electric was selected for the project because of the low installed cost, ease of installation and reported success by some FMPA members who have installed TripSavers on their systems.

A circuit selection methodology was developed for the project and 13 reclosers were installed at each of the three utilities for a total of 39 reclosers.

FMPA’s report on the DEED project noted that legacy recloser designs are bulky, contain oil and lack communication and data recording capability while newer designs are more compact, less costly, and do not use oil making them highly desirable for single-phase applications.

Despite the advantages of more recent design reclosers, the report noted that FMPA member cities face barriers such as lack of internal staff to lead a reliability initiative, lack of engineering support to analyze their network and select recloser locations, and a perceived high cost relative to the reliability benefit.

“The TripSavers installed in two cities experienced fewer faults than what was expected given the laterals’ outage history,” according to FMPA’s report on the DEED project.

A decline in storms and wildlife activity may have resulted in reduction of outages, but further analysis will be required to determine the influence of external factors on the project’s results. Nonetheless, “it was proven that even a limited deployment of reclosers could have a significant impact for a small system” and in a “much larger system, results indicate that replacement of a small percentage of lateral fuses with TripSavers reclosers could yield “notable” improvements in both System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) metrics, according to the report.

If utilities interested in pursuing a lateral recloser deployment target their worst performing laterals regardless of the feeder they could expect results “better than those achieved in this project,” according to the DEED report.

The report also noted that many utilities, particularly the smaller ones, struggle with the same barriers to deploying advanced reclosers that some FMPA members face.

“It is FMPA’s hope that the accomplishments of this project will be helpful in assisting other members wishing to deploy single phase reclosers as a cost-effective means to improve their system reliability,” the report concluded.

Specifically, FMPA said the project could provide guidance on circuit selection criteria, actual performance data, and an indicative range of investment costs necessary to avoid a single customer interruption.

The DEED grant from the American Public Power Association awarded FMPA $64,400 to carry out the project. FMPA, the three participating cities, and S&C Electric also contributed funding for the project, bringing the total budget to $134,000.

DEED members can read more about the project, Demonstration Project to Achieve Cost Effective Reliability Improvement Using Single-Phase Reclosers, on the DEED project database.

A webinar related to the project is scheduled for Jan. 28. For additional details, click here.