Duquesne Light Make the Grid Smarter with Cellular
For more than 125 years, Duquesne Light has been a leader in the transmission and distribution of electric energy, providing a secure supply of reliable power to more than 585,000 customers in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Duquesne Light’s distribution system is centrally operated from the Distribution Operations Center (DOC), where supervisors are responsible for monitoring and managing the 700 sectionalizers and reclosers within the company’s distribution system.
The company’s main protection scheme uses pole-mounted sectionalizers and reclosers to divide circuits into distinct load blocks of about 1,000 customers, which cannot be fully utilized until they are remotely controllable from the DOC, a process that would take three to 12 months to install using a conventional wired backhaul solution.
Duquesne Light found that when a problem occurred, downing wires, the protection devices locked up near the problem and shut down the electricity distribution to all customers in the surrounding load block areas. They needed a solution that would immediately improve its ability to monitor and control its vast network and infrastructure equipment.
Duquesne Light started researching a wireless communications method that would be cost-effective, improve their distribution system reliability and enable additional locations to be remotely connected. They chose the AirLink Raven Gateways to install into their pole mounted sectionalizer control cabinets due to their reliability, rugged design and remote management capabilities facilitated by ALEOS embedded intelligence.
Once the Sierra Wireless solution was deployed, DOC supervisors found that they were
able to address problems in near real-time and better contain the outage. For example, they were able to remotely control the sectionalizer just beyond the problem area, thus isolating the actual problem within one load block.
The initial cost to install and automate the Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven modem was approximately $640 per location. This is significantly less than Duquesne Light’s existing wireline communications installation costs, which are typically $10,000 per
The Sierra Wireless’ AirLink Raven intelligent gateways have provided Duquesne Light with the following benefits:
• Real-time solutions – enabled DOC supervisors to instantly review data and decide how best to correct the situation
• Cost-effective deployment solution – wireless saved Duquesne Light $9,360 per location
• Reduced infrastructure expenses – a progressive annual saving of $468,000 per year
Back to customer stories