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MidAmerican Energy News

MidAmerican Energy adds smart sensors to restore electricity more quickly

DES MOINES, Iowa – (Sept. 12, 2018) – Locating the source of a power outage without service crews physically inspecting electric lines and equipment can be difficult, especially during stormy weather and in darkness.

That’s why MidAmerican Energy Company is adding hundreds of smart devices to electric lines – to help restore service more quickly if an outage occurs.

The small electronic sensors, called remote fault indicators, attach to power lines. The devices instantly transmit outage and location details to MidAmerican Energy control room operators if they detect a service interruption.

“This smart grid technology helps us identify and isolate outages more quickly so we can restore service faster to minimize the impact to our customers, and supports our ongoing efforts to increase system reliability for our customers,” Jim Dougherty, MidAmerican Energy vice president of electric delivery, said.

Without the sensors, crews must often physically travel miles of roads, at times on foot for facilities that are not along roadways, to inspect power lines and locate the outage source. That process can take hours.

“When we know the cause of an outage, we can often dispatch our crews and restore service fairly quickly,” Dougherty said. “But the outage source isn’t always obvious. In many cases, our crews must inspect miles of lines, which can be difficult and take time – especially in the dark or during storms. These devices enable us to dispatch crews right to the disruption.”

Since early last year, MidAmerican Energy installed more than 200 sensors at locations in Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Fort Dodge, Des Moines, Waterloo, Iowa City and the Quad Cities, and in rural areas throughout its service territory. Based on the success and accuracy of the sensors thus far, MidAmerican Energy is in the process of installing sensors at more than 150 additional locations, which the company expects to complete next month.

“In an outage, our goal is to restore service as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible. These new sensors help us get the job done,” Dougherty said.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves 770,000 electric customers and 751,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at midamericanenergy.com and company social media channels.