by Marlene Berlin
On a walk of the neighborhood one day in the summer, I found a Pepco worker at the top of a telephone pole on Albemarle, east of 30th Street. I looked at many of the poles along the street, and they appeared rather new. I contacted Chris Taylor, head of public affairs for Pepco in our area, to find out what improvements had been made since we last communicated in January.
Back then, Chris told me that Pepco was upgrading Feeder 14133. Each feeder, he said, is “an electrical power line that serves about 1,100 customers in a specific area.” When Chris got back to me recently, he let me know that the 14133 work was completed by March 2013.
Since then, Pepco has been making improvements to feeder 14135. Upgrades occurring on 30th Place, Linnean Avenue, and Ellicott Street and Chesapeake include the replacement or installation of:
· 96 feet of tree wire
· 6 lightning arresters, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning_arrester
· 2 cross arms,
· 1 motor operated switch, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relay
· 1 pole,
· 6 animal guards, http://www.agiproducts.com/specialty-products/animal-guard
· and 1 fuse.
On Nebraska and Connecticut Avenues, Pepco planned to install or replace the following:
· 701 feet of URD (Underground Residential Distribution) Cable,
· 14 fault indicators,
· 2 manholes,
· 40 feet conduit.
This work was completed on September 30th.
Chris mentioned other work that is planned in our area – all with the intention of reducing the number of consumers impacted by an outage and the duration of an outage.
[box]We also have a distribution automation project in Forest Hills that should be activated by the end of the year. Distribution automation includes technologies such as automatic circuit reclosers, remotely controlled switches, smart relays, switches, digital remote terminal units, and fault indicators.
This equipment forms an automatic sectionalizing and restoration scheme (PDF, pages 30-32) where devices work together to identify faults, automatically isolate identified problem areas and reconfigure the feeder.[/box]
Out of this evolved the Electric Utility Improvement Financing Act of 2013 (PDF). This, for the most part, is a revenue bill about issuing bonds to pay for “selective” undergrounding in areas vulnerable to power outages in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8. The bill requires feeders called Main Line and Lateral (1KV-35KV) to be ranked by using data over the last three years (though it’s unclear when this three-year period will start) for the following:
· Number of outages per feeder
· Duration of outages per feeder
· Customer minutes of interruption
The Pepco work in our area could mean that Forest Hills will not be a candidate for undergrounding. On the other hand, the question remains: Will all of these improvements give us better service?
We would like to know what you experience this winter, spring and summer. When you have an outage, please check the feeder line map, identify your feeder line and fill in the form below. (A slightly easier-to-read map can be downloaded here.)