New Techniques for maintaining Reliability in the Restructured Electric Utility Industry


Project Scope:

Just as in the telecommunications and airline industries, consumers have pushed for customer choice as a way, they believe, to achieve lower electricity rates. In 1992, the Energy policy acts spurred the creation of a competitive wholesale market in electricity and generator access to transmission. Tremendous changes have occured in the electric industry thorughout the U.S in response to generation competition and to mobilize for the eventual move to retail competition.

As we move toward retail competition, a contradiction will prevail. Customers will continue to expect electric utilities to provide continuous and quality electric service, but at a competitive (i.e cheaper ) rate. Utilities will respond by deferring capital investments and tree trimming, loading systems at higher levels, and reducing manpower and maintenance costs, while attempting to maintain reliable systems. Reliability, however is highly dependent on the level of maintenance, manpower attention, and monitoring a system receives. This work proposes the development of new techniques for maintaining reliability through automation and intelligent identification of incipient faults to perform predictive (just-in-time) maintenance.


Principal Investigator:                                     Dr. Karen L. Butler-Purry

Co-Principal Investigator:                              Dr. B. Don Russell

Sponsor:                                                                                         Project Duration:

Texas Advanced Technology Program                                   2000-2002

Research Assistants:

Siddhartha S. Dey