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New Equipment on Poles Raising Curiosity
Residents of the Suwannee Valley have been noticing some interesting looking equipment being installed on power poles. “A number of our line crews have been approached by people who are curious about the new equipment,” said Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) Director of Engineering, Kurt Miller. “It is, in fact, an important part of SVEC’s effort to improve service to our member-owners using modern technologies.”
SVEC is installing distribution breakers and radio antennas at key points along 500-600 miles of the co-op’s main feeder lines. Distribution breakers are switches that automatically open to interrupt current flow and protect the electric system from damage when a fault on the line is detected. The antenna enables continuous communication between the breaker and SVEC’s operations control center. With the new equipment, system operators will be able to reduce the duration of some outages, by using electronic means to direct power over alternative paths. This can be achieved in less time than line crews can be dispatched, travel to the location of the fault and restore power manually.
Work to install distribution breakers along feeder lines will continue through 2018. Similar equipment was placed in substations during the past two years. Both projects are part of a larger initiative to reduce the duration of outages and the number of “blinks” on SVEC’s system.