Internet of Things to give early warning of power line incidents

Internet of Things to give early warning of power line incidents

Remote sensor monitoring specialist EkkoSense is working with electricity network provider Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to trial an innovative design for an early warning sensor.

EkkoSense’s next generation solution combines three key technologies: an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor, LoRa long-range wireless communications, and solar power.

When installed on a power pole the sensor can detect when the pole leans further than it should during high winds, and it communicates the need for maintenance before any further damage causes it to collapse. The device also senses shock and vibration, from impact by debris during a storm for example.

LoRa communications and solar power ensure the solution is an ideal match for remote power line networks in those areas that are subject to the UK’s highest wind speeds.

An initial trial on the Isle of Skye will be conducted to test the solution’s applicability and identify potential cost savings.

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said: “Our network is designed to cope with the most extreme weather and any innovation that can deliver an early warning to help ensure we continue to provide a safe and secure electricity supply to our customers is welcomed.”

Dr. Stu Redshaw. Chief Technology Officer at EkkoSense, adds: “This is a great application of technologies that we have been developing for several years. For SSEN our IoT sensors will monitor the angle and stability of the wooden poles. This data will then be analysed on an EkkoSoft monitoring platform that applies complex algorithms to decide if a threshold has been breached and an alarm should be raised. These alarms are relayed automatically to SSEN who determine the correct course of action when a pole ‘tilts’ or ‘moves’. In short, we should know when a wooden pole is weak or unstable and action its replacement/repair ahead of it falling in a storm and disrupting the power supply.”