Exacter, Inc. recently completed the industry’s largest reliability survey of U.S. electrical distribution lines and presented a report at DistribuTech last month.. One of the findings was that an overwhelming amount of time and financial resources were devoted to “post-outage” response vs. “pre-outage” prevention.

New technologies, like Exacter, are beginning to emerge that help utilities measure reliability and provide the ability to do predictive, conditions-based maintenance that allow utilities to take pre-emptive action to prevent outages.

“Substation outages are the type of problem our technology identifies before the outage occurs,” stated John Lauletta, president of Exacter, manufacturer of the EXACTER Outage-Avoidance System. “When large outages happen, it always stirs the question, what are utilities doing to stop them? The good news is that new technologies exist that are helping utilities identify failure points before the outage.”

“The problem of equipment failures is obviously not something isolated to any one utility. In fact 30% of all outages (approximately 1.8 million each year) are caused by failing equipment,” stated Lauletta. “Our research shows the utility industry as a whole needs to focus more resources toward prevention, rather than toward post-outage response.”

“Currently our units are mounted in vehicles at more than 20 utilities around the country,” said Geoff Bibo, vice president of sales for Exacter, Inc. “It’s new technology, but already our customers are seeing dramatic results in identifying failing equipment, stopping outages, and improving reliability. One utility was able to improve their outage rating by more than 40% -- which is almost unheard of in this industry.”

“Before a piece of equipment in a substation, or on a distribution line fails, it begins to emit a failure signature. Our system identifies and helps locate failure signatures as soon as the emission occurs,” continued Bibo. The EXACTER system discovers the problem, provides GPS location coordinates for it, maps it, classifies it in terms of severity, and also offers additional analytics to help utilities prioritize which problems are most significant.