7:13am

Mon September 16, 2013
Energy

Getting the Lights on Sooner

Credit mrfp.us

Kentucky’s largest electric utility is investing millions in technology to help speed up power restoration in the event of an electrical outage.  The new technology comes in the form of computers and mobile capabilities being installed in L-G and E and Kentucky Utilities field trucks.

  Two way radios have been the standard for communications when the lights go out.   K-U’s Cliff Feltham says the computers in the vehicles allow crews to see the electric mapping system just like dispatchers.  It’s those visual maps which display the point of power interruption.

“We’re still the process in the computers in the trucks, rolling that out.  We started in Louisville and it’s now expanded to Lexington, eventually by the end of the year, it’s gonna expand to our trucks in the other parts of the state,” said Feltham.

Feltham says computer service in rural Kentucky is often better than two way radio connections.

“With a computer based system, there aren’t as many hurdles to overcome, just because it being a rural area, if there’s cell phone service or cell service in an area, then we’re gonna be able to pretty much communicate through computers to our folks in the truck in those rural areas too,” said Feltham.

It’s been five years since hurricane force winds did major damage to large areas of Kentucky.  The power company has made system upgrades totaling more than one billion dollars since Hurricane Ike winds bent over power towers and knocked down trees.  Those improvements include an online outage map, programs to inspect, treat, and replace utility poles, and removing hazardous trees.