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Allentown -- Two nationally-recognized institutions - The Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) and Public Utilities Fortnightly - have awarded PPL Electric Utilities with a pair of awards for use of innovative technologies to reduce outages.

“Through innovation, we’re continuously improving reliability of service and creating more value for our customers,” said PPL Electric Utilities President Steph Raymond. “These awards are testaments to the hard work and dedication our team puts into providing safe, reliable, and affordable electric service for our customers.”

The 2021 Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) Achievement Award

According to a PPL press release, the AEIC selected PPL Electric Utilities as a winner of one of its 2021 AEIC Achievement Awards — the organization’s most prestigious annual recognition — for revolutionary work in vegetation management.

Trees are a leading cause of outages for electric utilities. Within PPL Electric Utilities’ 29-county service territory, it is estimated that about 34 percent of distribution outages over the past five years were caused by trees contacting overhead wires, according to the release.

By using a new approach that leverages data analytics and other new technologies, PPL Electric Utilities has found ways to trim and remove trees with the potential to cause outages across 28,000 miles of overhead distribution lines, reports the press release.

Identifying trees likely to cause outages is a meticulous process. However, PPL reports that this new method, which PPL Electric began using in 2020, has led to efficiencies in scope selection, planning and execution of work. That has led to improved reliability, despite an increase in severe weather events, without increasing overall vegetation maintenance costs.

“By using data and analytics in this new way, we are able to determine trouble spots before they become trouble,” Raymond said. “Fewer tree-related outages, coupled with our increased investments in grid automation, have allowed us to make our service more reliable than ever.”

Public Utilities Fortnightly Top Innovator Award

Public Utilities Fortnightly has named PPL Electric Utilities as a Top Innovator for 2021 based upon their industry-leading use of dynamic line rating technology on transmission lines.

Smart sensors collect real-time information like wind speed and line temperature so that operators can relieve transmission congestion and increase the electricity sent over busy lines, according to the release. PPL Electric Utilities has been recognized for their choice to integrate DLR into core operations and use data from the sensors to guide investment decisions.

Normally line ratings are taken when transmission lines are built, but these ratings do not account for continually changing environmental factors, explains the press release. Should demand increase, operators may be unable to increase the amount of electricity due to those initial ratings. At that point, owners of the transmission lines would need to invest in upgrading or adding more lines, which can get expensive.

Thanks to the use of DLR technology, electricity delivery may be increased over existing transmission lines, providing necessary power and saving millions of dollars in construction expenses.

About AEIC and Public Utilities Fortnightly

As its name suggests, The Association of Edison Illuminating Companies was founded by Thomas Edison and his associates in 1885 and is the electric utility industry's longest-serving and preeminent association. Members share their knowledge to help achieve a modernized grid and secure energy systems.

This article originally ran on northcentralpa.com.

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