FortisAlberta continues to invest in the construction of critical infrastructure that powers growth throughout Alberta. Maintaining high levels of reliability performance is an ongoing focus for us. That’s why we invest millions of dollars each year to replace aging equipment and modernize and upgrade our systems as needed. Over the last five years, we’ve invested more than $3.48 billion to ensure a strong, reliable distribution system. Because Alberta is well-known for intense storms and other adverse weather conditions, we proactively improve and “storm harden” our system to better withstand these harsh environments. We complete rigorous maintenance projects across our service territory every year, including the replacement of approximately 700 kilometres of power line to new construction standards. This is due to the life-cycle replacement of aging lines and wood poles.
In addition, we continually invest to improve areas of our system where we see the lowest levels of reliability performance. This has involved, for example:
We maintain and monitor a complex distribution system to make sure every single customer receives the electrical power they need safely and reliably. We do this with the help of our centralized Control Centre, which is manned 24/7 in Airdrie (think of it as air traffic control for the electricity grid). Through comprehensive mapping and real-time information technologies, system operators at our Control Centre can see the system end-to end at any moment. This real-time view allows them to remotely monitor, control and restore, where safely possible, the delivery of power across our entire service territory. From the control centre, we have the ability to mobilize our power line workers and other resources at a moment’s notice to quickly address any outage or issue that may occur on our system.
Our system is becoming more responsive to your needs all the time, thanks to the use of advanced technology. We’ve implemented distribution automation technology, which features devices that can be operated remotely by our system operators to isolate customer outages. This technology helps to reduce the number of customers impacted by outages from thousands down to hundreds or less. And outages that at one time would have taken an hour or more to resolve can now, in many cases, be restored in less than one minute. We also continue to add advanced supervisorycontrol and data acquisition (SCADA) equipment to our system. This smart technology can pinpoint where an outage has occurred and it provides direction to our PLTs to efficiently and promptly make necessary repairs to restore power.