In 2004, Great Lakes Energy began making major improvements as part of a long-range reliability initiative to upgrade our entire distribution system over time. Approximately 50 percent of our power line distribution system is at least 50 years old.
Key achievements to date include:
- A total of 159 major power lines identified as “worst performing circuits” have been improved so far resulting in more reliable electric service for 103,663 GLE members throughout our service area. Another 1,044 members will benefit from additional line improvements scheduled in 2016.
- Met our annual reliability goal eight out of the last 10 years by reducing average outage minutes (see SAIDI information below),
- Met all state-mandated performance standards for electric service and reliability seven of the last nine years.
Other key contributors to improved reliability include:
- Sectionalizing circuits to help limit the number of members affected by outages. When the flow of electricity is interrupted by a fault on the line, large sections of the line often need to be de-energized so repairs can be safely made. Depending on the type of circuit configuration, we install different pieces of equipment that help isolate the problem on the line so it affects the fewest members possible.
- An aggressive vegetation management program to keep trees away from power lines.
- Investments in automated equipment and other new technologies are also helping to get the lights on safely and more quickly for members during storms.
SAIDI and Reliability
Great Lakes Energy’s reliability goal in 2016 is to not exceed 163.2 SAIDI minutes.
The goal is based on average outage minutes recorded during normal conditions. Typically the outages are due to weather, animals, equipment failures, vehicle accidents and other causes.
We use an industry standard index for determining average outage minutes. The System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) is an indicator of the average amount of time a GLE member could be without power in a given year. Since it represents an average, some members actually experience no outage times while others experience more than the SAIDI number.
Weather-related outage events are factored into the SAIDI calculations, with the exception of major event days (MEDs). Storms that create MEDs, such as the December 2015 snowstorm, are not common and only happen once or twice a year across the co-op’s entire service area.
We will continue to take measures to limit the weather’s damaging impact on our distribution system.