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Recent Blog Posts

Why Sensors are a Better Investment than FCI’s: Part 3

Posted by Tim Figura, Senior Sales Engineer on Aug 26, 2014 9:00:00 AM

This blog is the third installment in our four part series on why sensors are a better investment than Fault Current Indicators (FCI’s). In our previous posts, we discussed how LightHouse MV Sensors are more accurate and offer exclusive Predictive Grid Analytics Software. In this post, we will focus on the third reason why utilities should choose sensors: LightHouse Sensors can be used for multiple applications and FCI’s are a single purpose point product.

Fault Current Indicators are a single purpose product used by utilities to alert them of a fault. By installing FCIs, utilities are only solving only one of their many pain points as they try to get real-time data from their distribution grid to improve reliability. On the other hand, utilities that install LightHouse Sensors can take advantage of many different use cases or applications that improve grid reliability and reduce OpEx. 

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Topics: Sensors vs. FCI's

Why Sensors are a Better Investment than FCI’s: Part 2

Posted by Tim Figura, Senior Sales Engineer on Aug 19, 2014 9:00:00 AM

This blog is the second installment in our four part series on why LightHouse Smart Grid Sensors are a better investment than Fault Current Indicators (FCIs or FPIs). In the previous post, we noted that LightHouse Sensors are more accurate than FCIs due to the four levels of analytical processing of the sensor data available in the LightHouse Sensor Management System (SMS) software with Predictive Grid® Analytics. In this post, we will focus on the second reason why utilities should choose sensors: LightHouse Sensors are the only solution offering Predictive Grid Analytics.

Predictive Grid Analytics software is revolutionary as it monitors the distribution network to give utilities real-time information to predict outages and failures of their assets before they occur. Utilities with FCIs are missing out on a great opportunity to predict outages and reduce the number of outage minutes.

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Topics: Sensors vs. FCI's

Why Sensors are a Better Investment than FCI’s: Part 1

Posted by Tim Figura, Senior Sales Engineer on Aug 14, 2014 9:12:00 AM

In the U.S. the nationwide push to modernize the aging U.S. distribution grid and in Europe the need to bring “Low Carbon Technologies” onto the grid has sparked a new demand for distribution monitoring solutions. In the past, Fault Current Indicators (FCIs or FPIs as they are known in Europe) were a “go-to” technology but as new requirements for real-time monitoring became necessary, many utilities are realizing these technologies are falling short of meeting their needs in the following categories:

  1. FCIs are not as accurate as Smart Grid Sensors
  2. FCIs cannot predict faults; they do not have Predictive Grid® Analytics
  3. FCIs are a point solution where as Smart Grid Sensors can support multiple applications
  4. FCI’s have hidden costs that make them more expensive than sensors
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Topics: Sensors vs. FCI's

Never have Out of Phase Lines Again with Auto-Phase Identification

Posted by Amanda Grannen on Aug 12, 2014 9:00:00 AM

During new construction, storm restoration or removals of aging equipment, maintaining accurate records of your distribution grid can prove challenging. Asset management computer systems such as a Geographic Information System (GIS) are used by many utilities to maintain asset records.  However, these systems come with a cost.  Without near perfect record keeping, GIS systems can become out of date after long periods of construction. Maintaining records can be a painful, manual process for many utilities and often gets lost in the day-to-day operations that are a much higher priority.

One commonly inaccurate piece of information is the phasing of the overhead and underground lines. Listed below are four common reasons of how your power lines can get out of phase:

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Topics: Auto-Phase ID

North American Utilities Identifying New Applications for Smart Grid Sensors

Posted by Kevin Corcoran, Director of Smart Grid Product Line Management on Aug 7, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Utilities are finding evermore uses cases and applications for Smart Grid Sensors in their networks. In addition to core applications to help maintain and improve reliability, utilities are increasingly identifying new opportunities and use cases for Smart Grid Sensors to support the objectives of Asset Management teams.

This week, I gave a presentation at the IEEE PES GM conference in the Asset Management Working Group on Asset Management Techniques Using Smart Grid Sensors.  The presentation focused on specific examples from utility customers using theLightHouse system to support Asset Management –

Each application reinforces the value of increased visibility of conditions and events on the grid, the power of integrated analytics, and the benefits of a common set of data and insights to enable better coordination between Asset Management, Engineering and Operations teams.   The use case examples highlight the benefits of smart grid sensors for asset management at the substation as well as along distribution circuits.

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Topics: Application Guide

Improving Lineman Safety With Smart Grid Sensor Technology

Posted by Erik Christian on Aug 5, 2014 9:00:00 AM

This blog post discusses how Tollgrade LightHouse Smart Grid Sensors reduces hazardous risks for linemen. In particular, this blog focuses on the benefits of Smart Grid line sensors and why this technology is safer for crews.

The distribution network spans over six million miles in North America, and, according to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), it is where 90 percent of our outages occur. Yet, today’s distribution grid is largely unmonitored. 

Improving reliability and having faster restoration could be as simple as adding a new breed of monitoring and sensing capabilities through new Smart Grid line sensors that can report real-time outage and fault information to utilities so power can be restored to customers faster. Today, Tollgrade is already installing Sensors throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America.

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Topics: Predictive Grid

LightHouse Sensors Offer an Innovative Take on Asset Monitoring and Maintenance

Posted by Amanda Grannen on Jul 31, 2014 9:00:00 AM

If you have read our recent blog posts, you may notice a common theme: Tollgrade LightHouse Sensors save utilities money because there are so many different ways Smart Grid Sensors can be used to solve real pain points that cost utilities Operations &Maintenance (O&M) dollars. Tollgrade lead sales engineers have written about some of these turn-key applications including: load monitoring, outage prevention, and substation monitoring.

In continuation of this theme, Amanda Grannen, P.E., one of Tollgrade’s lead sales engineers, just released a comprehensive application guide focusing on how Lighthouse Sensors are one of the most affordable and effective ways to monitor overhead capacitor banks. In this application guide, you will learn:

  • Why utilities need to monitor overhead capacitor banks
  • How Tollgrade LightHouse Sensors can be used for capacitor bank monitoring
  • The benefits of using LightHouse Sensors over other monitoring solutions 
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Topics: Application Guide

Help Tollgrade Win a People’s Choice Stevie Awards for “Favorite New Products”

Posted by Kimberly Getgen, Vice President Corporate Marketing on Jul 29, 2014 9:43:32 AM

Tollgrade was named a New Product Awards finalist in the 2014 American Business Awards in two categories: 1) Software Asset Management for the Lighthouse® Distribution Monitoring Platformand 2) Telecommunications Products for the VBT™.  As a finalist, this makes Tollgrade eligible for the People’s Choice Stevie Awards for “Favorite New Products.”

You can help Tollgrade win by getting your votes in before 11:59 pm ET on August 8! 

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Topics: Awards

With LightHouse, Substation Monitoring Gets a Little More Affordable

Posted by Tim Figura, Senior Sales Engineer on Jul 24, 2014 10:32:07 AM

In a recent blog post, we mentioned the importance of grid modernization as our 6.6 million mile distribution grid ages. In an ideal world, every utility would modernize the grid by automating all substations in their service territory to gain complete visibly into real-time grid conditions and full control over their substations. However, this is an unrealistic goal because typical substation monitoring like SCADA solutions are too expensive and time consuming to install at every substation. They require the installation of equipment inside the breakers and on the bus work. Substation feeders must be de-energized and new conduits and wiring are required to facilitate installation.

Utilities with unmonitored substations want an affordable alternative to a full SCADA system. Fortunately, Tollgrade offers them an easier and more cost effective way - install LightHouse® Sensors with Predictive Grid Analytics.

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Topics: Predictive Grid, Substation monitoring

You need Sensors during the Summer Peak

Posted by Tim Figura, Senior Sales Engineer on Jul 22, 2014 9:00:00 AM

As the summer peak approaches in early August, utilities need to make sure they are ready to handle the increased load. Peak electricity demand refers to the period of time when the most electricity is consumed throughout the entire electricity network system. It is concentrated to a few hours of the year during very hot summer afternoons. These hot summer afternoons are a recipe for electricity peaks because of limited load diversity -- air-conditioning units are on full blast, businesses and factories are operating at high capacity, and household appliances are running all at the same time. 

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Topics: Predictive Grid

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