PPL Electric Utilities wins industry honor for downed wire safety technology

PPL Electric Utilities has received the 2019 Achievement Award from the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) for its groundbreaking, innovative technology that safely and automatically cuts power to downed power lines.

The award was presented this month at AEIC’s annual meeting.

Pictured left to right: Thien Hoang, Bashar Jarrah, Mychal Kistler.

“Downed power lines may ultimately be unavoidable for an electric utility, but PPL has developed and is implementing this innovative technology to substantially cut the odds that such an event will have tragic results for its employees and the public,” said PPL Electric Utilities President Greg Dudkin. “Nothing is more important than safety.”

During a windstorm in late February 2019, PPL recorded the first successful operation of the new system, powering off a line that came down in a remote, wooded area. By the end of this year, PPL expects to have the new technology in place in about 1,500 locations across its service territory, wherever protective relays are involved.

Police officers, firefighters and other first responders can often be the first to encounter downed lines after motor vehicle accidents or during storms. PPL’s new tool will greatly enhance the safety operations of the power grid, keeping those people and PPL line workers safer.

“This really is a game changer,” Dudkin said. “Without being able to detect a downed wire and quickly de-energize it, danger still exists. We’re extremely proud to have successfully implemented this system and of all those involved in its development.”

PPL was able to build upon Schweitzer Electric Laboratories ArcSense™ downed wire detection technology already on its system. PPL engineers developed an algorithm that worked with ArcSense to safely and automatically cut power to that downed wire. PPL is currently patenting the automatic power-cutting technology.

The AEIC Achievement Awards are presented annually to an individual or groups of individuals from AEIC member companies who have clearly provided significant contributions to advancing the operations of the electric energy industry.

PPL Electric Utilities provides electric delivery service to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and ranks among the best utility companies in the country for customer service and reliability. PPL Electric Utilities is a major employer in the communities it serves. It is a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL). For more information, visit www.pplelectric.com.