PPL Electric Utilities will implement network management software as part of its smart grid project to maintain, improve and expand its delivery system. The distribution management system, which will affect 60,000 consumers in south-central Pennsylvania, allows PPL to see and control the status, performance and interaction of equipment throughout its distribution grid.

PPL will be able to minimize the frequency and duration of power outages with the new system. The company has made $32 million in recent improvements aimed at boosting capacity and relieving the strain that high electricity use can have on different parts of the delivery system. In all, the company plans to invest $410 million this year alone.

The network management software collects and analyzes information from across the grid to control the flow of electricity in response to ever-changing demand. Some of the functions include:

  • Outage management technology that can determine the source of a power outage and automatically route electricity around it, minimizing the number of customers affected.
  • Grid efficiency technology that balances the loading of power lines in response to real-time power needs.
  • Renewable energy integration solutions that make it easy to tap into the clean power generated by rooftop solar panels and local wind turbines.

The distribution management system will be provided by GE.