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Quantifying SAIDI Reduction & Other Benefits of Line Sensors

Line sensors improve reliability with fault detection and accurate load data at more locations.
The challenge

PG&E felt that line sensors could be instrumental in improving reliability statistics while supporting an increasing penetration of solar and electric vehicles. They wanted to quantify the achievable SAIDI savings from line sensors. PG&E secured CPUC funding and embarked on a comprehensive test to evaluate the reliability impacts of line sensors.

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The test

In the field test, PG&E deployed almost 1,000 Sentient Energy line sensors, on numerous feeders throughout the distribution grid, and monitored the equipment’s performance for almost five quarters. The key conclusion from PG&E’s trials was that the business case for line sensors to improve SAIDI metrics is compelling. As the field trials showed, CMI (Customer Minutes Interrupted) could be reduced nearly 20%. PG&E’s team also identified a number of line sensor use cases with benefits beyond fault isolation and restoration. For example, high resolution oscillography of fault waveforms from Sentient Energy MM3s™ improved fault cause categorization, and indicated future failure risks such as issues with capacitor-bank operations.

Key Takeaways


Reduction in patrol time


Sentient Energy sensors evaluated in field test


Improvement in Customer Minutes Interrupted (CMI)


New ability to sense current direction and better manage DERs

Learn More in the Full Case Study