by Jack Hubbard
Sr. Manager of Operations Technology
At the end of last year, we started a series of articles describing the four strategies we are working on to improve our system reliability 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. We are accomplishing this while also keeping a close eye on electric rates and ensuring long-term rate stability. To read the previous articles, click Strategy #1 or Strategy #2.
This month’s newsletter will focus on Strategy #3, which is: Working with our power supply providers, Hoosier Energy and Duke Energy, to make significant investments to improve transmission system reliability.
South Central Indiana REMC (SCI) owns and maintains 3,843 miles of distribution lines operating at a maximum voltage of 7,200 V. These lines make up 60 circuits fed from 19 substations and 2 metering points located around SCI’s service territory.
Hoosier Energy is a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative that partners with Duke and IPL to supply energy to SCI, your energy provider.
Transmission lines carry energy from generating plants located around Indiana to the substations in our service territory. The transmission lines and substations are owned and operated by other utilities, and they supply energy to SCI distribution circuits so we can bring energy to your homes.
The transmission system is a crucial component in supplying reliable energy. An outage at the transmission level can affect multiple circuits and substations. In 2020, transmission outages contributed to 23.3% of the average outage minutes experienced by SCI’s members.
To make your energy more reliable, Hoosier Energy is working on projects to improve transmission reliability to SCI distribution circuits. The project with the most impact involves a section of transmission line in the Mooresville area. Between 2023 and 2025, Hoosier will rebuild about 12 miles of existing transmission line and build six miles of new line.
To improve reliability until this work begins, Hoosier Energy has installed equipment to aid in faster restoration if an outage occurs. It also upgraded devices on the transmission lines near the Paragon area, Carp area, and Cunot area. These improvements will mean fewer members affected and faster restoration times if outages occur. A recent upgrade to the Romona substation and a soon to be completed upgrade to the Ellettsville substation will allow greater opportunity to transfer loads from one substation to another if a transmission outage occurs. Additionally, Hoosier Energy has increased vegetation management in areas with increased transmission outage times.
We are pleased that Hoosier Energy, SCI’s energy supplier, is taking specific action to improve transmission reliability. We are confident that our members will reap the benefit of improved reliability.