The worldwide market for fault location, isolation, and service restoration (FLISR) hardware will grow from $2.4 billion annually in 2014 to nearly $5.4 billion in 2023, according to Navigant Research.
The massive destruction of electric infrastructure from storms, such as Tropical Cyclone Sandy in 2012 and the Alabama tornado outbreaks of April 2011, has triggered customer-driven demand for faster service restoration.
FLISR systems combine hardware, software, telecommunications, and grid engineering to decrease the duration of outages as well as the number of customers affected.
“FLISR is one of the more effective applications of distribution automation technology, and can noticeably improve utility performance metrics such as the system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) and the system average interruption frequency index (SAIFI),” says Bob Lockhart, research director with Navigant Research. “Improving these indicators can lead directly to improved customer satisfaction and reduced penalties by industry regulators, giving FLISR a quantifiable return on investment.”
In the U.S., investment grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded rollouts of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems. Between 2009 and 2012, more than $1 billion was spent on distribution assets, including about $300 million on automated switches that could be used for FLISR.
While utilities are genuinely interested in smart metering, according to the report, they also see those AMI deployments as a means to acquire the necessary network for distribution automation applications such as FLISR.