Low voltage (LV) monitoring has been largely overlooked for many years, but the need for transparency regarding the LV grid has never been greater as we transition to the use of low carbon technologies. Find out about how to create safer, stronger networks with VisNet® Hub…
The energy system is undergoing a transformation. The move to Net Zero by 2050 is causing a radical shift in the way we generate electricity, allowing us to use it for new purposes, like powering cars or heating homes. This transition will put pressure on the low voltage infrastructure that delivers power to homes and businesses.
Each cable has a finite capacity – operating the cable above this capacity will cause damage, ultimately resulting in the lights going out. The LV networks are highly passive in their operation, and current monitoring is limited. Where it does it exist, it is only deployed for a single purpose.
The problem with LV fault finding
Historically, LV monitoring is very much the ‘poor cousin.’ In contrast, high-voltage monitoring is well researched and established because of the more significant potential for dramatic outages affecting large numbers of customers and the ease of pinpointing problems through computer systems (you can read more about power cuts in our ebook here.
LV cables are mainly underground, unlike highly visible overhead HV cables, making it more difficult to find faults caused by ageing and water ingress. Without successful monitoring, it’s often left to the customer to flag issues – the problem here is that finding LV faults (especially intermittent ones) is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. Reactive steps to resolve issues often fail to detect the root cause of the problem lying underfoot, and it’s not uncommon for multiple excavations to be needed to find cable faults. With that comes the additional cost of reinstating the roads and footpaths that have been disturbed.
What does VisNet Hub do?
VisNet® Hub is different. It allows monitoring to be carried out in real time for a number of purposes, efficiently and cost-effectively. Designed to push intelligence to the network edge, it incorporates EA Technology’s low voltage common application platform, which, like an Android or iOS device, enables users to deploy new applications and algorithms, meaning that the functionality of VisNet® Hub goes beyond simple measurement.
VisNet® Hub checks the voltage and current data on every LV feeder. It uses this data to provide insights about the load, faults and condition of individual devices across the network.
This data is critical to network operators as it allows them to improve both network flexibility and efficiency, together with security and quality of supply, as low carbon technologies become more widespread. Fault detection, prediction and location all become easier, with reduced uncertainty making maintenance quicker and more straightforward and helping to avoid lost customer minutes.
The VisNet® Hub platform futureproofs network monitoring and reporting, provides insights to be gathered locally and consolidated centrally, allows operators to use the data to make informed decisions, reducing monitoring and maintenance costs and providing local intelligence for future planning.