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30 million outage minutes saved through Distribution Automation

Each year, ENMAX makes improvements to Calgary’s electrical system, upgrading overhead and underground equipment to improve system reliability. 

In 2016, we reached a milestone - 30 million Customer Minutes of Interruption (CMI) were avoided through the Distribution Automation (DA) program.

Since 2004, ENMAX has installed 367 overhead DA switches and 116 underground DA switches on 155 of Calgary’s 308 distribution feeders.  DA switches automatically detect and isolate faults and rapidly restore power to as many impacted customers as possible.  In some cases this can reduce the number of customers affected by an outage from thousands to hundreds, and reduce outage duration from more than thirty minutes to less than one minute. 

 “DA switches help us reduce the amount of time our customers are without power, and enable our crews to make necessary repairs safely and effectively,” said Dean Craig, Manager, Grid Modernization. “In 2015 alone, DA saved our customers nearly four million minutes, reducing our System Average Interruption Duration (SAIDI) by over 20 per cent”. 

ENMAX recognizes that reliable electricity service is critical to customer satisfaction and welfare. One of our Corporate CR objectives is to strive for high reliability performance compared to our peers in the Canadian Electricity Association. Learn how we’re doing in meeting this objective.

It takes a small army of ENMAX staff to make this program successful. System planners, engineers, field crews and control centre staff work together to coordinate the successful installation and operation of these switches every year.

“This is a big milestone for ENMAX,” Dean said, adding the program has already earned ENMAX multiple awards and industry recognition.

For 2016, six more circuits will be automated, bringing the benefits of DA to 1,700 more homes and businesses.

All customers are free to purchase natural gas services from the default supply provider or from a retailer of their choice and to purchase electricity services from the regulated rate provider or from a retailer of their choice. The delivery of natural gas and electricity to you is not affected by your choice. If you change who you purchase natural gas services or electricity services from, you will continue receiving natural gas and electricity from the distribution company in your service area. For a current list of retailers you may choose from, visit www.ucahelps.gov.ab.ca or call 310-4822 (toll free in Alberta).

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