SCE Testing Computers To Monitor Power Lines Before The Catch Fire

Written by on December 2, 2019

Southern California Edison officials say they are testing a new technology that can detect power line problems before blackouts and bigger disasters.

A diagnostic tool being used on overhead power lines in Texas detects variations in electrical currents caused by deteriorating conditions or equipment.

It notifies utility operators so they can send a crew to fix the problems.

Is this an alternative to preemptively shutting off power to prevent sparking wildfires??

The testing process has just begun and there are no results yet, according to and SoCal Edison.

The computer software is running on just 60 of Edison’s 1,100 circuits in the utility’s high-risk fire zones.

Edison says it is one of several tools the utility is testing to continue to modernize its system.

“There is no silver bullet,” … the managing director of grid modernization and resiliency at SoCal Edison tells the Associated Press.

He cautions that the technology was not at the point where it could be used to determine where to shut off power when dangerous winds are forecast during dry conditions.

The cost for the computerized analysis system is about $20,000 per circuit.

That could cost the utility $22 million in its high-risk fire area and that doesn’t include installation, operation and maintenance costs.

The utility is spending much much more than that right now on hardening its system.

And Edison recently agreed to pay $360 million to local governments to settle lawsuits over deadly wildfires sparked by its equipment during the last two years.

This story is based on reporting by the Associated Press:

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