S&C Electric Co., an employee-owned company with global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, rolled out an innovative solution designed to mitigate nuisance outages for power customers located on the grid edge. The new VacuFuse II Self-Resetting Interrupter has the ability to test if a fault is temporary, and if so, it automatically restores power, eliminating the need for utility companies to roll trucks and send line workers to replace overhead distribution transformer fuses.
The majority of overhead faults are temporary, so one of the most effective ways to manage them is by using fault-testing devices to keep temporary issues from becoming permanent outages. Typically, fault-testing devices are deployed on the main feeder, but S&C has created the VacuFuse II Self-Resetting Interrupter, which brings fault testing all the way to the edge of the grid.
Some studies have shown that up to 70% of faults at the edge of the grid—areas typically protected by overhead distribution transformer fuses, which operate whether a fault is temporary or permanent—are caused by nuisance issues. Temporary faults are often caused by things such as foliage or wildlife that quickly clear; yet, power outages can last hours for customers in remote areas when fuses require replacement.
The article explains how it works and the benefits to people living on the edge of the grid and to utilities. There is also a video showing how it works.