PPL recognized for downed wire safety technology

Published on November 04, 2019 by Kevin Randolph

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PPL Electric Utilities recently received the 2019 Achievement Award from the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) for its power-cutting technology, which safely and automatically cuts power to downed power lines.

The award was presented this month at AEIC’s annual meeting.

“Downed power lines may ultimately be unavoidable for an electric utility, but PPL has developed and is implementing this innovative technology to substantially cut the odds that such an event will have tragic results for its employees and the public,” PPL Electric Utilities President Greg Dudkin said. “Nothing is more important than safety.”

PPL recorded the first successful operation of the new system during a windstorm in late February 2019. The company used it to power off a line that came down in a remote, wooded area.

By the end of this year, PPL expects to have the technology installed at about 1,500 locations across its service territory.

“This really is a game-changer,” Dudkin said. “Without being able to detect a downed wire and quickly de-energize it, danger still exists. We’re extremely proud to have successfully implemented this system and of all those involved in its development.”

To create the power-cutting technology, PPL built upon the Schweitzer Electric Laboratories ArcSense™ downed wire detection technology already on its system. PPL engineers developed an algorithm that worked with ArcSense to safely and automatically cut power to downed wires. PPL is currently patenting the automatic power-cutting technology.