Power companies have hundreds of thousands of assets to monitor and maintain to avoid damage to the power grid. They include generators, generator circuit breakers, line disconnect switches, step-up and stepdown transformers, segregated and non-segregated bus ducts, potential transformer cabinets, medium voltage switchgears, and motors. Systems are subject to excessive loads, normal wear and tear, and challenging environmental conditions which can cause thermal or electrical breakdown. When equipment wears out or cables split due to overheating, they can cause fires.
In addition to unhappy customers and lost revenue, power companies have the potential to lose an average of $1.26 M in revenue over a 7-day period if a 500MW generator goes down due to a forced outage. Utilities typically rely on employees to check cable conditions by hand. Most rely on thermal cameras and perform spot checks. Though resource-intensive, data collection is not always accurate and at best, irregular. In contrast, smart sensors can check a greater number of locations and report back every few minutes.
When sensors detect a temperature change on a critical asset, operators see a spike in their dashboard. They can react quickly to rebalance or replace the asset before any damage is done. Instead of employees descending underground to perform tasks or shut down systems, utilities can identify issues before they cause problems.