Connecticut’s Power Woes – Epilogue

Electric Pole
We got power restored at 5:17 PM on Monday night after an eight-day outage. As of 10 AM today (Thursday) there were stillĀ 1,124 customers in Connecticut not yet restored with electricity. Although that is less than 1% of the customers in the state, it represents several thousand people who are without power for a twelth day. No doubt there are some extreme and extenuating circumstances that are making it difficult for the repair crews to get back to 100%. The power company has offered to pay for an independent consulting study to examine disaster preparedness. That seems like a good idea. I hope they look carefully at the role that technology could play in the logistics of identifying the outages with precision and planning the optimum priorities for restoration. If every transformer had a sensor that could continuously report its status could that help? There are more than 100 million Apple iOS devices out there that, if their owners chose to activate the “Fine Me” feature, can have their location be identified by Apple’s iCloud. Does the electric company have a real-time display of their entire network that shows what is up and what is not? Can they deploy repair crews in a way that maximizes the restoration of power in the shortest time? I do not know the answer to these questions, but I hope they do. It seems to me that sensors could help a lot. The sensors would be powered by the electricity at the pole. The data could be sent using BPL technology that has been around for many years. If a pole or transformer stopped reporting, that would mean it has lost power and that would be reflected in the overall map of the electricity network. Analytical models could be used to create the repair strategy that makes best use of available resources. This might work better than having the need for 196 Connecticut politicians all calling for priority to their towns.