Environmental Impact
Energy Independence
Green Jobs
Rising Costs
Modern Infrastructure
Modern Infrastructure
Issues

Even though our current grid is 99.97% reliable, power disturbances still cause major problems for the U.S. industry.1 Specifically, the US economy loses more than $150 billion dollars every year due to power outages - that's approximately $500 for every man, woman and child, according to the DOE.2 In some cases, utilities don’t know there is an outage until a customer calls in to report it. Even then, some power companies need to visit the scene before knowing exactly which parts of the grid are damaged.

When power disturbances are not handled quickly, there is risk of cascading failure. When a power line goes down, the electricity that once flowed down the damaged line is forced down other paths. If those other lines are already close to full capacity, the onslaught of electricity will cause them to overload as a result of congestion, creating a domino effect that is the leading cause of massive blackouts.3

America has suffered substantial power failures five times in the past 40 years—three of which occurred in the past nine years.4 Increased demand for energy combined with lack of real-time information on the grid has led to this increase in outages.

 
 
  Opportunities

With the implementation of smart grid automation technologies, utilities will have more real-time knowledge about the grid and its performance. Smart grid technologies deliver knowledge that helps identify potential problems in the distribution system, so utilities will be able to react to potential problems more easily—before customers are ever affected. If an outage does occur, it can be automatically detected, with electricity rerouted safely to minimize impact.

Smart grid automation technologies can also work in conjunction with smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure to provide real-time knowledge of the grid’s status, identifying and alerting the utility to exactly which homes and businesses are out of service—before a customer ever has to call.


 
 
  1) U.S. Department of Energy. “The Smart Grid: An Introduction.” Page 9.
2) U.S. Department of Energy. “The Smart Grid: An Introduction.”
3) HowStuffWorks.com. “How Blackouts Work.”
4) U.S. Department of Energy. “The Smart Grid: An Introduction.”