According to the New York State (NYS) Public Service Commission criteria, Long Island's overhead transmission and distribution system ranks first in the state for reliability for the third year in a row. Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) completed the US$1 billion system improvements while maintaining rate stability during a period of fuel price volatility.
The electric system's superior performance reflects state-owned LIPA's commitment to deliver reliable and economical electric power to Long Island. This is especially critical during the summer months when electric usage is at its peak. LIPA has invested more than $592 million over the last four years on capital improvement projects that were performed by Keyspan, the investor-owned utility services company. LIPA has budgeted an additional $317 million for upgrades to the T&D system for 2002, resulting in nearly $1 billion for system-wide improvements. All the while, electric rates have remained stable for homes and businesses on Long Island and will not increase in 2002.
Still, the electric system will be stretched to its limit this summer if a prolonged heat wave occurs. Last August, the T&D system delivered 4906 MW of electricity to the Long Island Control Area, setting a new record for electricity delivered on the island. During last summer's heat wave, the loss of any significant T&D component could have pushed Long Island into rolling blackouts.
Severe weather this March did not result in a major outage situation. During a 24-hour period beginning March 21, winds up to 50 mph buffeted Long Island, but the quick response by Keyspan crews resulted in only 1611 customers experiencing a service interruption.
Historically, similar conditions would have resulted in more than 25,000 customers losing electric service. Despite these high winds, 40,000 miles (64,374 km) of overhead lines continue to deliver increasing amounts of electricity while ensuring that Long Islanders experience fewer and shorter service interruptions.
LIPA's financial investment in the T&D system, along with the rehabilitation of the system by Keyspan personnel, is providing record reliability in New York.
As an overhead electric utility, Long Island continues to lead New York in reliability performance. As of November 2001, Long Island had the best System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) value for all overhead NYS utilities. The average LIPA customer went 15 months between service interruptions, compared to 12 months for other NYS utilities. Long Island's service interruptions are 20% less frequent than the statewide average.
LIPA has implemented major initiatives to improve overall system reliability with an investment of $50 million on tree trimming and its Wire-Friendly Tree Program, which promotes the use of trees that will have less impact on electric wires, poles and other components.
Each year Keyspan engineers analyze and inspect the worst-performing distribution feeders. Keyspan then updates and refurbishes overhead and underground feeders to improve reliability by addressing the condition of poles, wires and crossarms, lightning protection, wildlife protection. Engineers inspect all overhead transmission lines through a performance improvement program, making wire replacement, grounding and lightning protection improvements, and replacing poles when necessary. The entire maintenance program for substations has been revised, increasing the frequency of preventive maintenance. This year, a Reliability Centered Maintenance Program will completely re-examine substation maintenance needs.
Keyspan is performing the engineering and construction management for new power substations and has upgraded existing substations in the Long Island electrical T&D systems as required to meet the load growth and to interconnect with new gas turbine generators and with HV interties with the Connecticut system under the Long Island Sound.
Circle 176 on Reader Service Card>