Tollgrade Blog

Recent Blog Posts

How Do You Modernize Your Distribution Network without Breaking a Sweat, or the Bank? Ask DTE Energy

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Aug 2, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We often take it for granted that when we flick a switch or push a button, the lights will automatically turn on, phones will recharge, and computers power up. We also expect a continuous and reliable delivery of electricity to our homes and businesses. For the most part, this is the norm. However, given the sheer size of our distribution network and the condition of our infrastructure, it is not surprising that, from time to time, things can go wrong.

Equipment failures and weather conditions can play havoc with network reliability. So having up-to-date information and a high-level view of exactly what is happening on the network is crucial for distribution engineers to make informed decisions. It allows them to better prioritize aging equipment replacement,  identify worst-performing circuits and understand network load behavior in order to prevent power failures and improve power quality issues.
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Topics: OSIsoft, Line Sensor Integration, ABB Tropos, Pi Historian

Hack: How to Fight Summer Peaks and Avoid Power Outages

Posted by Erik Christian on Jul 26, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Hot summer months can put high stress on the electric grid. Voltage drop during peak summer temperatures become a common issue with heavily loaded transformers no longer able to regulate voltage effectively. 

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Topics: overloading transformer, voltage drop, power outage, service interruptions, Summer load

5 Most Puzzling Power Grid Failures

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Jun 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Power outages or even worse – blackouts – create disruption to residential and business customers and often comes at a hefty cost. It has been estimated by the U.S Energy Information Administration that disruptions to the business continuity, caused by power outages and interruptions, cost as much as $150 billion a year

Of course, it’s not just the U.S that suffers from power outages. In the UK, a Blackout Tracker report reveals just how fragile its energy networks are becoming.  Around 640 power outages took place in 2015, each lasting an hour on average. This increase in outages from the previous year caused disruption to more than 2.5 million people. 

While it is well known that one of the largest culprits to power interruptions and outages is our aging grid infrastructure, it cannot take the fall for them all! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the most unusual and puzzling causes of power disruptions from around the world. Some of these examples  led to costly downtime, major inconveniences and, in some cases, sheer panic!  

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Topics: Power outages, power disruption

3 Reasons You Should Invest In Smart Grid Sensors To Improve Circuits Performance

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on May 26, 2016 2:21:55 PM

Here are a few facts you may not have realized until now…

  • Electric lines are blamed for 9% of wildfires
  • 5 to 10 arc-flash explosions occur in electrical equipment daily within the U.S

….. these numbers all relate to one subject: Reliability.

Reliability has been a sizzling topic of discussion in the U.S and across the globe for several years. It is a broad topic which by nature is difficult to address and know which angle to approach from. SAIFI, SAIDI, CAIDI, MAIFI reliability indices are in place as a way to measure distribution system reliability. They provide a comparison basis for electric utilities regarding the quantity and quality of electricity delivered to consumers. Indices are also now frequently used as the key to unlocking and improving the performance of underperforming feeders. 

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Topics: Identify worst performing circuits

UK Energy Industry Recognises Tollgrade’s Award-Winning Smart Grid Technology

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Feb 19, 2016 8:29:22 AM

The success of our award-winning LightHouse® smart grid platform for distribution monitoring continues with the announcement by the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) that Tollgrade has been shortlisted for the ‘Best Safety Innovation’ category in the UK’s Energy Innovation Awards 2016.

The EIC awards celebrate the best new technologies and innovations in the UK energy industry, 

Back in May 2015, we were named winner in ‘Best Smart Grid Innovation’ category for our LightHouse MV Power Sensor product. 

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Topics: Awards, Auto-Phase ID, Linemen safety

Out of The Darkness Into The Light - Part 2: Choose Your Weapon Wisely

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Feb 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In our previous blog, Out of The Darkness Into The Light -  Part 1: The Grid Awakens, we learned about the various grid monitoring weapons available to monitor our electric grid. In this blog, we reveal the ultimate weapon to help fight the dark forces and support your grid modernization efforts.

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Topics: Smart Grid Sensor

Out of The Darkness Into The Light- Part 1: The Grid Awakens

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Feb 2, 2016 12:39:05 PM

It is a period of turmoil for the power grid. Our distribution networks are dispersed over millions of miles with little to no visibility and the forces driving our electric grid to the dark side grow stronger.

Severe weather conditions continue to rage on planet earth causing many or our people to lose power. The U.S is ranking on top for blackouts and costing American Businesses as much as $150 billion per year according to the DOE.  In his Quadrennial Energy Review our Commander-in-Chief ‘s Administration has declared that our grid infrastructure is aging and becoming obsolete. Significant investment will be needed to confront the dark forces.

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Topics: Distribution Monitoring

4 Reasons Why You Should Attend Conferences like DistribuTECH

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Jan 7, 2016 9:00:00 AM

There are so many ways today to learn about new products and solutions to help you carry on your next project or idea and help improve our electric grid resiliency.

You could: Attend webinars, listen to podcasts, watch videos, read blogs or take part in a LinkedIn group to name just a few.

However, how can you network with your peers, share stories and experience the latest products and technologies in the market in one place?

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Topics: DistribuTech

Improve Overhead Line Health Monitoring: How to prevent conductor slapping?

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Dec 17, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Conductor movements also known as conductor clashing or slapping, occurs when overhead power lines collide with one another creating brief power interruption to customers on the electrical network. High winds, animals or strong magnetic field from a fault can prompt overhead power lines to swing heavily and eventually touch each other producing a “conductor slap event”.

Improve Overhead Line Health Monitoring: How to prevent conductor slapping?

Line conductor slapping events are very difficult to identify, almost impossible to locate, eventually trip the circuit breaker and end up causing a power outage by producing a second fault upstream from where the fault initiated. And they are also almost always mischaracterized as a coordination problem with the protective equipment.

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Topics: Predictive Grid

Scotland Low Carbon Strategy Using Smart Grid Line Sensors

Posted by Anne-Laure Leroyer, Marketing Director on Dec 11, 2015 4:22:13 PM

Low Carbon was certainly the buzzword at this year’s Paris Climate Conference COP21. One of the main players and beneficiary in the development of global low carbon markets is Scotland. While paving the road towards a low carbon country is at the core of Scottish leaders’ thinking, the government realized that it is also an economical and societal transformation needs to happen.

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Topics: Renewables

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