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Chorus trial 'helps electricity lines companies identify power outages faster'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Chorus has today announced the completion of a successful proof-of-concept trial for a service that will help electricity line companies identify and restore power outages in the low-voltage grid faster.

Chorus' PowerSense service uses its fibre broadband box's 'last-gasp' functionality in homes or businesses with an active fibre connection.

A 'last-gasp' is a short signal that the Chorus Optical Network Terminal (ONT) can send to indicate disruption to the service and that it has just lost power. Similarly, the ONT also communicates a 'first breath' signal when power restores.

Chorus' trial with electricity lines companies, including Electra in the Kāpiti and Horowhenua districts, has demonstrated that an API-based service that uses ONT information generated independently by Chorus could identify locations losing power in near real-time.

When the service launches later this year, it will be available to line companies across Chorus' fibre footprint. Chorus fibre customers will have the option to remove their ONT data; more detail about opting out from the service will be available in Chorus’ privacy policy.

"It's a great example of how we can make further use of the investment that has been made in fibre to deliver greater value to New Zealanders than simply reliable, fast fixed-line broadband," said JB Rousselot, Chorus CEO.

Chorus anticipates PowerSense being of interest to electricity line companies across the country wanting an accurate and early view of power outages for their customers. Network operations centres will gain improved visibility of their network, leading to quicker restoration and more reliable power delivery.

"We are excited to see innovation thriving through people working together, across industries, to improve the management of low voltage power networks. This service will ultimately benefit consumers across New Zealand", said Tom Georg, Acting General Manager Market Policy at the Electricity Authority.

Electra Network Operations Manager, Mike Myhill said, "Even during the trial we started to see improvements in the visibility of our network, the Chorus PowerSense data showed outage events happening on our network ten minutes ahead of the first calls coming in."

On the weekend of 12-13 February, remnants of Cyclone Dovi brought howling winds and heavy rain to much of North Island and electricity lines companies reported significant power outages.

Richard Fry, Chorus’ Innovation Manager said, "As Cyclone Dovi wreaked havoc across the North Island, our prototype service started reporting outages.

"It peaked at 10.27 am on Sunday when we received a short but sustained volume of 300 last-gasp alarms per second. While the majority, nearly 90,000, were for outages of less than 30 minutes, many ran on longer than eight hours."

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