Idaho Power advances grid modernization efforts with fault detection sensors

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

Last week, Sentient Energy announced that Idaho Power has chosen its sensing solution to provide advanced fault detection. Sentient Energy’s integrated platform uses data and analytics to give grid operators grid visibility and intelligence for actionable insights and more informed decision-making.

The utility, which serves more than 590,000 customers across 24,000 square miles in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, has embarked on a grid modernization initiative to future-proof the infrastructure and ensure safe and reliable power delivery. As part of that effort, Idaho Power is implementing Sentient Energy’s MM3 and ZM1 sensors to provide fault detection.

The sensors use algorithms to sense system faults in real-time and wirelessly communicate fault information to the utility control center for integration with SCADA, DMS, or OMS systems, according to Sentient. With more precise fault location information, operators can more quickly dispatch crews to the correct location, reducing patrol time and outage duration. The sensors display an LED so field crews can verify fault detection when they arrive.

In addition to using Sentient Energy’s fault detection capabilities as a foundational technology in phase one of Idaho Power’s grid modernization efforts, the utility also plans to tap into Sentient Energy’s analytics capabilities for phase two. As Hobson explains, “Analytics will also become important to provide advanced troubleshooting information and proactive operational data on our system. Sentient Energy will give us unprecedented insights that could enable us to quickly fix failing equipment before causing an outage.”

“We take great pride in providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy to our customers, and we constantly strive to find new ways to improve the reliability of our systems,” said Bryan Hobson, Engineering Leader at Idaho Power. “It’s critical for us to detect faults quickly and precisely, a process that can be arduous in our service areas, which are often in rural areas with rugged terrain.”

Hobson said he expects the sensors will help reduce response times and patrol costs and reduce the duration of outages by up to 20%.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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