Early Fault Detection devices (EFDs)

United Energy is using advanced technology designed to improve power reliability and safety for customers by identifying potential network faults before they become a problem.

United Energy was the original sponsor of IND Technology’s innovative Early Fault Detection (EFD) devices, with its origins at RMIT University in 2014. This helped IND Technology to develop and improve its earlier generation EFD technology, which have since been phased out in favour of the latest generation, now deployed on the Mornington Peninsula.

22 EFD devices have been installed across parts of the high voltage network in Rosebud and Dromana to flag potential network faults early and thereby improve power reliability and safety as well as protecting some of the most bushfire prone parts of the Mornington Peninsula.

The devices act like the ‘canary in the coalmine’, alerting controllers to parts of the network, such as a powerline or transformer, displaying signs of stress. The devices, arranged in pairs 5km apart, measure signals travelling across powerlines to identify patterns that indicate a likely fault. The devices then transmit that data back to network controllers at United Energy, who can dispatch fault crews to investigate and make repairs if required.

United Energy’s Principal Engineer for Enabling Technology, Mark Wexler, said the technology would further improve network reliability and safety for customers.

“This type of emerging technology is about catching problems early, otherwise they can cause disruption for customers,” Mr Wexler said.

“It takes us less time to fix issues under controlled conditions than it would if we had to respond to an unplanned power outage and customers are better able to be prepared for the impacts.”

“If we can repair the equipment before the fault occurs, that’s the perfect outcome for our customers.”

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