Normally, distribution networks consist of hundreds of thousands of poles and connected assets. It is a significant challenge for any operator to ensure a complete, up-to-date record of this.
Fremont, CA:Distribution networks have the essential and sometimes challenging role of providing the consumer with safe, stable electricity. Usually, they have limited budgets with vast coverage areas than their transmission counterparts. This makes it a huge undertaking to maintain the network. Each region of the network and the problems they face are distinct.
Here are six challenges in distribution utilities:
Extreme wind and temperature volatility can have profound repercussions and are completely out of any operator's control. It is a huge challenge to build network resilience. This demands the prediction of weather patterns, the understanding of critical network locations, and the identification or removal of trees with a fall-in risk.
Handling Cost Base
For clients, higher costs mean higher rates. The maintenance of existing infrastructure, new construction, and vegetation management around the grid is substantially expensive for a network operator. In addition to this, the cost of doing business, in general, is growing. Increasing regulatory and financing pressures to validate their management actions and expenditure decisions are amplifying these challenges.
With parts of the grid more than a century old, much of the infrastructure that makes up the whole power grid is becoming obsolete. Networks struggle with an asset base approaching the end of its lifespan. This makes it more difficult to decide to upgrade or retain it consistently.
Moving forward, a digital grid would be a new, intelligent grid. Technology for knowledge and operations must both increase and integrate. In this phase, digital asset management, smart grid technology, and the Internet of Things are likely to play an integral role.
Handling Customer Expectations
Managing client expectations is tougher than ever in the internet age. The negative publicity of outages can be damaging, and social media propagate both positive and negative reviews. Also, clients often have unreasonable standards regarding rate increases and outage times.
Reducing Restoration Time
Frequent and lengthy outages can result in major reputational damage. Problems will eventually occur, but at the core of this issue is determining the location and cause of the problem. Network reporting services that can detect the fault position can help, but precise maps and GIS data from the network are required.