Forecasting and Alerting for Ice Accumulation
Ice and frost accumulation power lines during the winter season can pose significant issues for utilities and their maintenance crews. When combined with high winds, the threat can become serious. Crews working near these lines risk being struck by falling ice or nearby vegetation. High winds may cause ice laden lines to gallop, and if the wind is extreme, the galloping lines may collide causing faults, downed lines, possible equipment damage or power outages. Having advance warning of these events can allow you to better prepare for the operational problems and interrupted maintenance schedules these events present.
There are multiple forecasting methods available. Public forecasts such as television and the National Weather Services can bring awareness to precipitation based icing and freezing fog, however, they are targeted to predict ice accumulation on surfaces and roadways. Forecasts from private, commercial sources, continue to improve and new ensemble model forecasts are more accurate and can target ice accumulation forecasts at electrical conductor heights. Larger utilities may have meteorologists on staff who can perform a deeper analysis of weather patterns and conditions to deliver a more asset specific impact forecast. This can be especially valuable for in-cloud icing events in elevated terrain areas, or localized extreme wind events. However, not all utilities have this luxury.
Indji Systems continues to lead the market with innovative solutions and now delivers forecasts of icing from freezing rain and freezing fog including the delivery of SMS and email alerts to your staff. For many utilities, ice buildup on lines in specific areas, such as higher elevations or remote locations, pose significant challenges. With Indji Systems, users can choose the areas most likely to be impacted by ice accumulation, rather than relying on airport or other public locations. Within each area selected, users can customize the ice accumulation thresholds they want to be alerted on, allowing grid operators to monitor forecasts in those high-risk areas and prepare for potential problems.
Icing becomes more serious when combined with high sustained winds or gusts. For this reason, Indji Watch has also developed notifications that combine icing and high wind threats. Utilities can now be alerted up to 72 hours prior to the start of an ice accumulation event that exceeds customized thresholds for ice build-up and high wind speeds.
Having a tool that alerts your team to extreme temperatures, ice accumulation and high winds will allow you to be proactive in your decisions to pre-position material or teams in the field, monitor sensitive substation equipment or prevent downed lines from posing as a safety risk. Now utility operators and field response crews have time to prepare, and take steps to mitigate outage risk and increase safety.
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