Estonia’s unique technology prevents nearly 1,000 power outages a year

Estonia’s unique technology prevents nearly 1,000 power outages a year

The failure prevention tool NetFix developed in Estonia has helped Elektrilevi prevent approximately 1,000 power grid failures during its first two years of operation, saving thousands of homes and businesses from power outages.

Elektrilevi’s network consists of 24,500 substations and about 61,000km of lines, as well as approximately 650,000 smart meters. Estonia was one of the first countries in Europe to switch to 100% smart meters in 2016, which also enables the creation of smart services.

“On average, nearly 7,700 low voltage failures are recorded in Elektrilevi’s network annually, accounting for 64% of the total number of failures. The time and money spent on eliminating these failures, along with customer dissatisfaction, prompted us to seek better solutions, and thus, together with Eesti Energia’s IT department, we started developing technology to predict failures before they cause damage,” said Elektrilevi board member Rasmus Armas.

Elektrilevi has directed its investments into the construction of a weatherproof grid and remote controlled substations. The company’s task and challenge is to ensure reasonable security of supply and pricing of the network in a rapidly changing environment, where the volume of distributed generation has increased ten times in the last four years. Data-based, effective investments are important for Elektrilevi, its customers and all of Estonia. One way to keep up with the pace of change is to maximise the value of existing data.

The development team’s work resulted in the creation of NetFix, a tool for monitoring the health of the power grid and detecting defects. Through the use of machine learning and with the support of defect samples collected over a period of two years, a solution was developed which detects data patterns that indicate defects based on the information transmitted by the smart meters and provides an initial assessment of their root cause.

In parallel with its development, Elektrilevi has used the NetFix technology as a preventative tool to accelerate development and get maximum value from NetFix. Anomalies detected by this solution provide an additional dimension to the view on the health of the network. Early detection creates an opportunity to prevent an anomaly from escalating into a failure and to improve the efficiency of investment planning in order to assess where investments have the greatest impact on network reliability.

“With NetFix technology, around 65% of all low voltage failures can be predicted and resolved proactively. This technology has already allowed Elektrilevi to save around half a million per year, and this number will surely increase in the future,’ explained Armas.

With NetFix, deviations in the network are monitored on a daily basis. When a defect occurs preventive measures are taken and remedial work is carried out, if necessary. This not only prevents power outages but also increases network safety and prevents fires caused by electrical failures.

NetFix is a solution that transforms today’s predictive maintenance and creates certainty for the future in a rapidly changing environment.