UK’s largest utility upgrades distribution monitoring platform


UK Power Networks is using $3.4 million in funding secured from energy regulator Ofgem to integrate Aclara’s Grid Monitoring platform and sensors with energy distribution system.

The utility has installed 400 Aclara power sensors to monitor some 45 feeders within the energy distribution system. The sensors collect and transmit data related to transient faults.

Transient faults according to Aclara are “short variations of fault current that do not produce sustained outages” and are a result of severe weather conditions, tree contact and malfunctioning assets.

Data collected from the sensors will provide UK Power Networks with insights regarding the performance of the distribution network and distributed assets in real time.

The energy provider to 8 million consumers will use the data to locate faults faster and predict outages even before they occur.

UK Power Networks project manager Peter Lang said: “Our goal is to reduce the duration of supply interruptions by directing linesmen to the most likely fault locations.  The trial will demonstrate Aclara’s “distance to fault” algorithm to improve restoration times.

‘We are regularly reviewing Aclara power sensor input as part of UK Power Networks’ overall quality of supply improvement program and hope to make more strides in preventing network-failure conditions.”

Aclara says its partnership with UK Power Networks will help in improving its smart grid sensor technology.

Kumi Premathilake, senior vice president of advanced metering infrastructure for Aclara added: “These powerful sensors are easy to install and provide insight into areas of the distribution network that cannot be reached with other technologies.”

Active network management

In late June, UK Power Networks and National Grid launched an active network management scheme to boost grid capacity as well as simplify connections for generators.

The new scheme will boosts grid capacity in the South East of England as well as allowing generators to be linked up without the need for costly reinforcements.

UK Power Networks (UKPN) said that the move marks a significant step towards its transformation into a distribution system operator. Read more on this…


Image credit: 123rf

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.