Survey of U.S. electrical distribution system reveals worse than expected reliability

Tampa, FL, Feb. 6, 2008 — “The Exacter 20,000-Mile Survey shows that failing electrical distribution equipment may be much worse than suggested by the Department of Energy’s 2003 Study by a factor of nearly 2-to-1,” said John Lauletta, president of Exacter Inc., whose company measured failure signatures across more than 20,000 miles of distribution lines in 2007. “This discrepancy may result from latent damage.”

In the Exacter survey, 26,450 failing signatures were located across 22,706 miles of distribution overhead. The DOE’s 3,000,000-mile study predicts 13,624 equipment failures over the same area.

The results of the study are based on actual measurements as opposed to after-the-fact outage reports. Exacter said it is the single, largest measurement of U.S. electrical distribution systems ever conducted.

“For 12 months, we worked with 19 utilities in 15 states measuring failure emissions,” said Lauletta. “These utilities validated our findings.”

Some findings from the survey include:

* DOE studies indicate that 30 percent of all power outages are due to failing equipment. This estimate has been confirmed by participating utilities and by EEI, NRECA, APPA, and IEEE.

* Using DOE estimates of the avoidable costs ($6,700 per avoided outage), there is an opportunity for cost savings of $7.5 million by repairing 1,122 sites.

* Failing devices can be detected, located, and prioritized for preventive maintenance.

* Well-maintained systems do not exhibit failure signatures.

* EXACTER technology results applied to preventive maintenance reduce SAIFI.

* There is no clear problem ownership regarding reliability. Different departments take on aspects of the problem. There is no integrated solution empowering change.

* There are few results-based reliability solutions being offered to utilities.

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