A smarter, more reliable grid with automation

(2/3/17) PSE is focused on harnessing new technology to serve our customers. At the end of last year, we took a big step forward in our efforts with a project that enables the grid to essentially “self-heal” when damage occurs.
 
It’s referred to as distribution automation, and it’s meant to noticeably shorten power outages for customers. PSE’s Laura Feinstein, manager of smart grid planning, describes the project as “one of the first jewels of PSE’s modernized grid.”

 
At peak performance, customers could have their power back on in minutes, as opposed to hours.
 

The automation system identifies where the outage is located and remotely controls the switches that need to be opened or closed to isolate the damage. What takes human sometimes over an hour to do, an automated system can do within a minute or two. Without this system, the operations team has to drive out to these switches, which takes much longer.
 
PSE has several automation projects under development. These projects affect customers in Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Whidbey Island, Covington and Federal Way.
 
-- Austin Melhart