S&C Electric Co. and EPB in Tennessee last week celebrated the final IntelliRupter PulseCloser installation as part of Chattanooga's smart grid project.

During the event, "Powering the 21st Century: The Role of the Smarter Grid," there was a live onsite installation of the final IntelliRupter PulseCloser, a central component of EPB's self-healing grid – which is expected to reduce outage duration by 40 percent. Following the installation, Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman, EPB CEO Harold DePriest, S&C President and CEO John Estey and the Chattanooga Area Chamber President and CEO Tom Ed Wilson discussed the future of U.S. power needs and the economic case for grid intelligence at a roundtable discussion.

"Home to the country's most automated smart grid of its size, Chattanooga is a unique success story in how the smart grid can be an economic engine, reduce power outages, improve reliability and prepare for future power demands," said DePriest.

"EPB's smart grid uses a very high level of smart grid automation that allows the grid to automatically respond to disturbances and minimize disruptions to electric service," said Estey. "When an event occurs, the IntelliRupters communicate with one another through EPB's high-speed fiber-optic communication network to determine the location of the event, and then automatically isolate it and reroute power to restore electric service to as many people as possible."

According to an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, the national cost of power interruptions for business and residential consumers is about $80 billion annually. FINASmart devices installed out on the grid carry and direct the flow of high-voltage electricity even under the most adverse weather conditions, and rapidly and automatically respond to system conditions to reduce outage durations or prevent them altogether.

"To compete in the global economy, it's crucial for communities like ours to ensure their electric power grid can deliver the high reliability and efficiency needed today," said DePriest. "Grid-based developments improve the reliability of our power service without asking business or consumers to change consumption habits or report outages."

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