An Outage-Free Future Is Closer Than You May Think

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Yes, you read that right: At S&C, we are talking about an outage-free future.

Think of what was once considered outrageous that is now commonplace:

  • Space travel
  • Video chats
  • Billy Joel making a comeback and releasing new music

Our goal is to create an outage-free energy grid that will soon seem as unremarkable as these fixtures of modern life, a grid so resilient that, when we see power outages in old movies, we will need to pause and explain it to kids, like we now do with pay phones.

The key to achieving this remarkably resilient tomorrow is a perspective shift today: It’s time to stop maintaining and repairing problem spots in our grids and instead focus on holistic solutions that upgrade the resilience of the entire system, from the biggest substations to the farthest laterals.

‘You May Be Right’: The Challenges Utilities Face Are Very Real

We’re not naïve to the fact utilities today are under so much pressure that an outage-free future feels like an unattainable idea. Our customers face mounting burdens:

  • Aging systems
  • Soaring customer expectations
  • High interest rates
  • Increasingly frequent storms

Given these present-day difficulties, it’s understandable many utilities are focused on day-to-day grid maintenance and repair; they don’t have time to focus on anything else. Or, if they are able to develop a grid-modernization plan, they get roadblocked by regulators before they can even begin.

That’s exactly why a perspective shift is necessary. We as an industry have long been focused on the trees instead of the forest. We’re performing reactive repairs. We’re implementing piecemeal solutions to problematic areas. And because these activities eat up so much of our time, attention, and resources, we lose out on the ability to look around and take inventory—to see what would be possible with a different approach.

Your ‘Big Shot’ at Complete Coverage: A System of Complementary Resilience Solutions

It’s like LEGO® bricks. When you’re building with LEGO bricks, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination because—and this is crucial—all the pieces are made to fit together.
Mike Edmonds Headshot
Mike EdmondsChief Commercial Officer

What we need is a comprehensive, end-to-end approach to our grids, one that integrates area-specific solutions working together seamlessly to provide complete, cohesive coverage.

These solutions need to complement each other, using precisely engineered coordination and automation that works just as well outside the substation as it does on the most remote lateral.

It’s like LEGO® bricks. When you’re building with LEGO bricks, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination because—and this is crucial—all the pieces are made to fit together. That’s how S&C designs products: Our solutions all fit together, presenting endless possibilities for systemwide coverage.

From feeder-transforming devices such as the IntelliRupter® PulseCloser® Fault Interrupter and Vista® Underground Distribution Switchgear to lateral game-changers such as the TripSaver® II Cutout-Mounted Recloser and the EdgeRestore® Underground Distribution Restoration System, every solution addresses a specific grid challenge, and every product works in coordination with the others.

This way, every end consumer enjoys the same level of resilience, whether they’re an “Uptown Girl” or a rural retiree.

With the Grid Movin’ Up, Outages Are ‘Movin’ Out’

What happens when utilities implement comprehensive grid-modernization solutions? They don’t just see a dip in outages and improved SAIDI numbers. They see drastically transformed systems that deliver greater overall resilience and reliability—a thriving forest instead of a few hardy trees.

Then, with a solid, resilient foundation, there’s diminished demand for reactive repairs and greater capacity to focus our investments and intellectual force on the future.

We can prepare for tomorrow’s complexities and challenges by, for example:

  • Anticipating the pending boom in load growth, from more data centers to widespread EV-charging needs
  • Focusing on equitable electricity delivery across the grid
  • Hardening against continuing catastrophic climate changes

Ultimately, we can achieve what for “The Longest Time” seemed unimaginable but is now in reach: a truly outage-free future.

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Mike Edmonds

Publication Date

March 18, 2024