Consumers Energy Introduces Largest Ever Collection of Smart Technology Devices for Enhanced Electric Reliability

Smart Grid Revolution: How Consumers Energy is Investing in Advanced Technology to Prevent Power Outages

In 2023, Consumers Energy is investing nearly $24 million in smart technology to enhance power outage prevention. The company is deploying over 3,000 line sensors and more than 100 automatic transfer reclosers (ATRs) across Michigan. This is the largest number of line sensors ever installed by Consumers Energy in a single year.

Chris Laird, the vice president of electric operations at Consumers Energy, stated that the company is committed to restoring power within 24 hours or less through their Reliability Roadmap. He emphasized that new technology is crucial in making the grid more reliable for all customers. Laird expressed confidence in these devices to continually improve service for nearly 2 million homes and businesses in Michigan.

The ATRs and line sensors are advanced reliability technologies that play a vital role in preventing power outages. ATRs detect power loss and automatically redirect power, similar to a traffic cop, to isolate outages. Line sensors anticipate issues on the grid and notify crews in real-time with precise locations, preventing outages before they occur. By utilizing these technologies, crews can quickly identify and address problems, resulting in reduced power outage durations.

Consumers Energy has witnessed the positive impact of ATRs on outage prevention over the past few years, with hundreds of thousands of outages being avoided. In 2023 alone, ATRs prevented outages for nearly 70,000 customers by containing outages to small areas. Greg Salisbury, the vice president of electric engineering, highlighted the significance of ATRs and line sensors during storm-related outages and emphasized their role in maintaining power for customers.

Smart technology is a fundamental aspect of Consumers Energy’s Reliability Roadmap, which aims to create a smarter and more robust electric grid. The plan includes investments in forestry work and infrastructure improvements such as installing durable iron poles and burying overhead power lines to withstand Michigan’s harsh weather conditions.

In conclusion, Consumers Energy’s investment in smart technology will help prevent power outages by enhancing its grid’s reliability. The implementation of advanced reliability technologies such as ATRs and line sensors will allow crews to swiftly identify and address problems during storm-related or other types of disruptions.

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