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One of the largest community-owned utility in the US utilizes power quality data to improve power distribution reliability for their Floridian customers.

image credit: GettyImages-Used with permission

Scott Laster's picture
Sr. Technical Sales Engineer, Intelligent Metering Solutions Schneider Electric - Power Solutions

Scott Laster has more than 25 years of experience with intelligent metering in hands-on product support, business development, and end user education for the utility industry.  Scott has a...

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Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is known in the North American power industry as a leader in adopting technology to provide reliable and low-cost energy to its more than 360,000 customers. JEA, the 8th largest community-owned utility in the US, teamed up with Schneider Electric with 3 main goals in mind:

  • Improve T&D network reliability
  • Analyze and isolate the source of any PQ problems
  • Improve customer service

As of 2014 JEA has net generating capacity of over 2,300 MW and owns and operates a combination of generation, transmission, distribution assets, as well as water and sewer systems. A big operation that isn't willing to gamble with their customers’ power.

As a part of efforts to maximize reliability across this extensive service area, JEA installed an automated energy analysis system that included power and energy meters. The system helps engineering personnel isolate and correct power quality issues and equipment risks throughout their network.

Millions of dollars have already been saved through the discovery of degradation in several load tap changer (LTC) units and the associated failures that were avoided. JEA has dodged not only the financial burden of transformer replacements but avoided service interruptions for their commercial, industrial, and residential customers.

The energy analysis system currently includes 17 advanced Powerlogic ION power quality meters at generation sites, 73 at transmission and distribution substations, and 92 at important industrial customer sites. The meters track power quality conditions and monitor the performance of equipment including relays and transformers.

After installing a wide area Power Quality monitoring solution, JEA enhanced the system by installing ION Software that could roll up data based on known events, wide area power quality monitoring system architecture statistics, and provide a dashboard view for multiple users based on a specific area of interest.

One requirement for the system was to handle multiple forms of communication seamlessly while allowing for an easy upgrade as new technologies were introduced. Today, JEA has devices communicating with software on various protocols and through multiple media simultaneously.

All real-time and historical data is uploaded automatically over hard-line modems, Ethernet, or wireless links to a set of central servers that run the energy analysis software. Meters also connect directly with the RTU/SCADA system. JEA personnel receive local and Web-enabled remote access to data, including standardized SARFI 80 reports that regularly summarize all events in the system.

Monthly power quality reports are offered to customers as a value-added service. Extensive data analysis tools are used by the Systems Analysis Group to help reveal and address any power quality issues throughout the T&D network.

The data doesn't stop there. The information gathered reaches every corner of the JEA team, benefiting managers and engineers in electric delivery, customer sales and service, systems protection and controls, substation maintenance and generation plant management.

In action “The system has been very useful in identifying several power quality issues, both internally and at customer sites,” says Tom Ventresca of the System Analysis Group.

  • In one instance, the system reported a C-phase zero current value of less than half a cycle, happening a few times each day. Over a four-week period, this duration increased to just over one cycle. The investigation pointed to a load tap changer in a substation transformer. Once taken offline during a maintenance outage, a broken pin was found on C-phase of the tap changer transfer switch. It was estimated that the transformer would have survived only two weeks before the jaw would have completely melted and a catastrophic failure occurred.
  • A similar fault led to the discovery of deterioration in a connector ring and diverter switch.
  • Another instance required the replacement of 49 contacts, moving fingers, collector hubs and neutral.

 JEA has now programmed the power quality system to trigger an alarm for this specific waveform signature, which is helping them identify these types of issues even faster. “These kinds of issues are ticking time bombs,” says Ventresca. “In the past, an LTC failure has usually meant that we lose the transformer. The meters and software have already potentially saved three transformers at $1 million apiece. And the value to customer service is immeasurable in avoiding unplanned outages to thousands of customers.”

Customer's meters have also been programmed to send immediate alerts to JEA personnel and to the affected customers in the event of outages, restorations, faults, unbalances, sags, or swells. “The system has definitely improved our response to problems or perceived issues. Having real-time and PQ data to correlate with events on trouble tickets and sequence-of-events logs make my job easier in responding to customers and JEA account executives.”

In the future JEA plans to make power quality meters standard equipment to be installed on all new substations and generating facilities, as well as transformer retrofits until all 26 kV transformers are monitored.

Thanks to JEA and Schneider Electric's power quality system, the customers and residents of Jacksonville and adjacent counties can focus on some of the more entertaining aspects of their town, like 7 ft. alligators causing a traffic jam on I-295, if the Jaguars can turn around the team for 2019, and if there are anymore $15M scratch-off tickets lingering around town.

There is no doubt why JEA is an industry leader in innovative technology adoption. In making customer satisfaction and cost management top priorities, JEA will continue to leverage leading-edge energy analysis technology to assure reliability across its entire network.

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Tripp Tucker's picture
Tripp Tucker on Feb 26, 2019

Eliminating the root causes of power quality issues will allow for more of electricity's "useful energy" or electrical power to flow with added energy efficiency before actually being used (or wasted) by consumers.

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