MANCHESTER, NH–As 2015 draws to a close, Eversource said that it “is pleased that the year was the most reliable yet” for its customers. Significant investments in New Hampshire’s electrical grid are proving their worth, with outages happening less frequently and power being restored more quickly when they do occur, said the company.
In New Hampshire alone, Eversource invested approximately $325 million in 2015 on improvements to its transmission and distribution systems. “Eversource is making significant investments in New Hampshire, resulting in a noticeable difference for customers,” said Joseph Purington, New Hampshire Vice President of Operations for Eversource. “We all remember the historic storms of the last several years – building a better, stronger, smarter grid will improve reliability for our customers no matter the weather.”
Since 2012, the frequency of outages across Eversource’s service area has decreased by 18 percent and the amount of time it takes to restore power when it does go out has decreased by 26 percent, said a company spokesman. These achievements are the result of the company strengthening its electric system with the latest technology designed to make the grid smarter and more resilient. Year-round attention to reducing tree-related power outages also plays a critical role in the improved reliability Eversource customers are experiencing.
Eversource’s reliability in New Hampshire has improved greatly with the Public Utilities Commission’s continuing support of the Reliability Enhancement Program (REP). The REP enhances the company’s already substantial investment in initiatives such as vegetation management, upgraded infrastructure, and Distribution Automation (DA).
Storm hardening on the transmission and distribution systems makes it more resilient in bad weather. On average, Eversource is replacing 3,000 distribution poles in New Hampshire each year with new, stronger poles. Enhanced tree trimming also targets trees that are outside of the regular trim zone but are susceptible to coming down on a line during a storm.
Eversource’s Distribution Automation plan is a highlight of reliability investments in New Hampshire. DA segments customers into blocks of 1,000 or fewer with pole-top devices that communicate with the company’s new, state-of-the-art Integrated Electric Operation Center. The technology allows control center operators to reroute power around trouble spots, quickly restoring many of the customers affected by an outage and more accurately directing crews for an efficient restoration. Eversource installed 84 DA devices in 2014 when the program launched and more than 200 in 2015.
Eversource also opened a new Integrated Electric Operations Center in September. The facility, which includes a recently deployed Outage Management System (OMS), improves situational awareness and communication, resulting in more efficient restorations.
With the renewal of the REP in July of 2015, Eversource is poised for a historic level of investment in New Hampshire’s electrical system in 2016. In addition to the continuance of its robust vegetation management and storm hardening plans, the company will spend $14 million installing more DA devices, keeping pace with the 2015 work. Other upgrades are also planned across the system that will enhance reliability; for example, construction underway at a new substation in Keene, NH.
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