Outage Detection

What Is Outage Detection?

Outage detection (as early and accurate as possible) is critical to take actions to manage, mitigate, or recover from power outages. When outages due to weather, third-party damage or asset failure occur, utilities’ number one priority is to isolate the interruption and restore service quickly. They need to understand the extent and the exact locations in which the damage occurred to react promptly and get electrical assets (and thereby customers) back online. Today, the most commonly used outage indications are from smart (revenue) meters, but these come with their own set of challenges.

outage map

What Are Some Challenges Regarding Outage Detection?

Inaccurate Representation of Outage

Smart meters talk to each other in a mesh network to communicate, relaying data to central collection points. If there is a power outage in a suburb, the smart meters in the middle cannot get a signal out (because the adjacent meters in the mesh network have lost power) to identify the presence of a nested outage. Therefore, they cannot give a representation of how many people are without power. Smart metering networks also tend to have a high latency from measurement through to network, often exacerbated by the data passing through the revenue metering team before being shared to the network team. This can hamper efforts to get timely alerts about an outage and impact return to service.

utility electrician on pole

Inaccurate Identification of Outage

Relying on smart meter data or SCADA enabled reclosers and distribution automation switches on the system only provide a minimal amount of information about the true location of the outage. Distribution network buildouts can be very complex with many lateral feeders and network locations that produce the same distance to fault calculation from reclosers. Patrol times become extended without another layer of grid edge outage detection devices that are either line or pole mounted to help differentiate these potential fault locations. This added time to patrol lines negatively impacts SAIDI (system average interruption duration index) and utility resource investments during an outage.

Inability to Identify Issue(s)

Many utilities try to rely on non-communicating fault circuit indicators (FCI) to assist in reducing patrol times. These devices are often ineffective because of poor reliability in use. If an FCI is not positioned in a location that is easily viewable to a patrol crew, it will provide no value in reducing the outage impact. If the FCI has lost power and is failing to annunciate faults properly, this can be even more problematic as it may be providing conflicting information with other system devices. Having communicating outage detection on the grid edge devices ensure the information is available to patrol crews regardless of viewing conditions. The health status of a communicating device also ensures the quality and reliability of the information that it provides so it can be relied on when isolating and restoring service interruptions quickly.

How We Can Help

ConnectGrid™ IoT Platform

The Dynamic Ratings ConnectGrid™ Smart Infrastructure Solution (SIS) is an agile technology stack that enhances connectivity to grid edge assets for better management. The system is tailored to meet varying security, scalability and availability requirements and has many options available in architecture and communication technology.

Dynamic Ratings is a trusted advisor that helps you make the right decisions for your asset monitoring. We focus on our customer’s objectives and priorities and provide solution-based products that help utilities meet their goals, such as:


Reduced Maintenance

The advanced analytics within the monitoring system filters through the condition data to automatically identify issues requiring maintenance attention.

Risk Mitigation

With online condition-based data, users receive alarms when problems first arise, allowing early detection so that appropriate actions can be taken before problems escalate.

Improved Planning

We offer simple devices that can be installed to provide real-time data on the condition of your assets, so you can improve the planning around when they need to be serviced and replaced.

Outage Detection Solutions

Dynamic Ratings ConnectGrid TTM


Our monitors offer Instantaneous Outage Detection and automated alerts, so utilities know the extent and the exact locations in which the damage occurred, and can react quickly and get things back online. Because our products offer continuous online monitoring, they not only alert utilities that there is an issue, but identify the exact issue, so personnel are dispatched with the information they need to fix the problem quickly, saving both time and money.


Additional Resources


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