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Investment improves electric service for customers

October 13, 2020

The new technology allows Appalachian Power employees Josh and Keith to remotely monitor the electric load along a circuit from inside the Distribution Dispatch Center.

A significant investment in technology and new equipment is improving service reliability for tens of thousands of Appalachian Power customers by reducing the frequency and duration of power outages.

The system works by switching customers to an alternate circuit for power within seconds of a strategically-placed protection device detecting a problem, known as a fault, along the distribution line. Workers have installed and configured devices in substations and along approximately 100 distribution circuits throughout West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, and more are being installed every year.

Customers in areas where the technology has been deployed will still see occasional outages, but when outages do occur the equipment hastens repair time by helping employees more quickly pinpoint the location of the problem. 

Trees are the leading cause of power outages. Severe weather, along with general equipment issues, also contribute to service interuptions. This deployment of new distribution automation technology is another way we're working to improve the safety and reliability of electric service for our customers.

The company began installing the new equipment about two years ago. This year alone the equipment has prevented 20,000 customers from losing service for a sustained period of time. The plan is to install devices in substations and along approximately 25 circuits in future years across Appalachian Power's service territory. 

From trimming trees around power lines to strengthening the electrical grid, we are working to ensure we deliver safe reliable power so you can focus on the important things in life.

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