EPB smart grid avoids 90 percent of expected power outages

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 5/7/14. EPB Senior Manager of System Analysis and Control Don Nannery works in EPB's all-new, state-of-the-art Distribution Center designed to compliment the citywide Smart Grid and fiber optic network.

Despite several rounds of violent storms that raced through the area overnight, EPB's smart grid kept the electric power on for about 90 percent of Chattanooga's electricity users who would have otherwise experienced an outage, EPB spokesman John Pless said today.

"Smart grid automation either prevented or automatically restored more than 23,000 customer outages, with almost 2,100 customers experiencing outages of greater than five minutes," Pless said.

As of 4 p.m., less than 200 EPB customers were still without power "and crews will continue working until all the damage can be repaired and service is restored," Pless said.

The smart grid uses fiber optic communication links and intelliruptors to monitor and control the flow of electricity along EPB power lines. That allows the utility to redirect the flow of power when there is an outage in a particular area.

Aided by a 2010 grant of more than $111 million from the Department of Energy, EPB installed the smart grid along with its fiber telecommunications network across its 600-square-mile service territory..

In response to heavy rains and winds early today, Pless said EPB crews and tree contractors also worked through the night and into today to repair damage and restore service to most customers affected.