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Florida’s New Smyrna Beach Utilities Details Dramatic Improvement in Reliability

Florida public power utility New Smyrna Beach Utilities recently detailed how it has dramatically improved reliability for its customers.

In 2020, NSBU developed an Electric Reliability Improvement Plan designed to improve the reliability and resilience of every circuit on the utility’s electric distribution system, noted Joseph Bunch, General Manager and CEO of NSBU.

After three years of ERIP efforts, NSBU has reduced the average frequency of customer outages (System Average Interruption Frequency Index, or SAIFI) by 41%, while also reducing average outage duration by 32% (System Average Interruption Duration Index, or SAIDI), Bunch said.

“These results were achieved through application of equipment and technology that reduces the number of customers impacted when outages occur, while also speeding up restoration time. At the same time, NSBU adopted industry best practices for ongoing preventative maintenance in the areas of; vegetation management practices, visual and infrared substation and line inspections employing the use of infrared cameras and drones,” he noted. “Lastly, inspection program deficiencies and addressed in a timely manner as part of weekly work planning activities."

While last year’s reliability performance was the best on record for NSBU, “we’re not stopping here,” Bunch said.

“There are additional plans to further improve the reliability and resiliency of our electric system -- at both the transmission grid and distribution circuit levels,” he said.  

Much of the equipment and technology installed thus far as part of ERIP will also be integrated into the smart-grid and advanced metering platform being installed as part of NSBU’s 10-year grid and water modernization program, Bunch said.


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