Mississippi Power Company serves 190,000 customers in Alabama and Mississippi. Much of its service area is along the Gulf Coast in the United States where hurricanes pose an ongoing threat.
Mississippi Power must be ready to restore power after storms, but deploying personnel is difficult when a large area is affected.
Mississippi Power wanted to take advantage of modern electric power restoration techniques and was interested in learning more about self-healing networks. They had worked with SEL in the past and already had SEL-351R Recloser Controls installed in their system.
We looked at various vendors. We decided on Schweitzer Engineering, and … a lot of that had to do with our past relationship with Schweitzer. The support we got … was a big factor.
Mississippi Power partnered with SEL to commission a DNA (Distribution Network Automation) solution that consisted of 11 distribution feeder pilot projects. They created a robust, self-healing network that incorporated more than 300 SEL-651R Advanced Recloser Controls in an SEL Real-Time Automation Controller (RTAC)-based distribution automation control solution.
Since implementing the self-healing network in 2013, Mississippi Power’s reliability numbers have improved significantly. The utility was able to greatly improve the restoration of electric service during power system outages, and they avoided an estimated 3,257,861 minutes of customer outages over the past five years.
In addition to responding to weather events, Mississippi Power must respond any time power is disrupted, no matter the cause. Shortly after they implemented their self-healing network, a truck ran off the road and hit a power pole. This caused 2,200 customers to lose power. Mississippi Power’s self-healing network restored power to 1,900 of those customers mere seconds after breaker lockout. The self-healing network made a difficult problem much easier to resolve and significantly limited the number of customers affected, making the job of ground crews more manageable.
According to Mississippi Power, the system acts as another control system dispatcher that never sleeps. Working 24/7/365, it never second-guesses itself, and every switching decision is based on the most up-to-date information about the power system. The success of the new self-healing network has encouraged Mississippi Power to continue moving forward. They have increased their automated distribution feeders from 11 to more than 50, and they are installing more annually.