Kentucky Power tracks annual reliability goals, continually pursuing ways to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages for its customers. Even through a challenging year of weather, reliability improvements were achieved in 2021 for the 165,000 customers Kentucky Power serves.
One measurement that Kentucky Power uses is referred to as SAIDI or the System Average Interruption Duration Index. SAIDI is an industry-wide measurement that all utilities use and are often held accountable to by state regulators. Comparing 2021 to 2020, Kentucky Power reduced the overall number of minutes customers were interrupted by 750,000 minutes.
“We think of the S in SAIDI as standing for satisfaction for their customers and we work our reliability plan every day finding ways to shave time off the length of an outage. In our terrain, we will always have outages but our goal is to reduce the number of outages and then the time it takes to get the repairs made and the lights back on as quickly as possible,” said Everett Phillips, vice president - distribution operations.
Because of the terrain, trees receive a lot of attention usually ranking as the number one cause of power outages in eastern Kentucky. According to Phillips, trees falling outside of the company’s rights-of-way are a big problem and it’s not unusual for crews to find felled trees that are 100 feet tall as the culprit for an outage.
The forestry group at Kentucky Power has a vegetation management program, where circuits are cleared on a five-year cycle. This program will complete its first full 5 year cycle at the end of 2023. “The vegetation program continues to have a positive impact on system reliability and we are expanding it to include a goal of clearing obvious threats even outside of our right of way with over 19,000 trees removed in 2021 from outside the right of way,” Phillips said.
Kentucky Power’s reliability program for this year not only includes the vegetation management program but also rebuilding decades old transmission infrastructure and taking advantage of technologies that allow crews to quickly switch customers to a different circuit for some outages.