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PPL Electric Utilities Wins Pair of Achievement Awards from AEIC

            PPL Electric Utilities is proud to announce it has won a pair of Achievement Awards from the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC). The awards recognize revolutionary innovations to PPL Electric's wooden utility pole inspection process and its application of a distribution settings automation tool that increases the safety, reliability and efficiency of its electric grid. Both awards were presented on October 6 at the 2022 AEIC annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

            "Becoming one of the top utilities in the country doesn't happen overnight," said PPL Electric Utilities President Steph Raymond. "It takes innovation and a questioning mindset. That's what allows us to continue to find new ways of doing things and breakthroughs in processes in non-traditional places. These awards are perfect examples of our continuous drive to innovate on behalf of our customers."

            For researching and implementing a technological leap in wooden utility pole inspections, PPL Electric was awarded the AEIC President's Award, the organization's highest recognition. Using resistance drill-based wood pole inspection technology, PPL Electric ran three pilot programs to map the extent of the condition for external decay, then developed and tested a new drill bit design, along with software improvements, to automatically calculate the exterior and interior decay.

            This comprehensive resistance drill-based inspection — which is unique to PPL Electric — has improved detection of pole failures and decay as well as reduced the cost and duration of inspections. What used to take a five-person crew a week to complete can now be accomplished in just two days with a two-person crew. The increased inspection efficiency allows PPL Electric to be more responsive to emergent needs and achieve annual inspection goals faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost.

            PPL Electric also received an AEIC Achievement Award for its work in implementing an adaptive Distribution Protection Analysis Toolkit (DPAT) that automates processes and increases the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the electric grid.

            Through a supported partnership, PPL Electric used Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI) DPAT to create an automated system that develops and routinely checks settings on its distribution network. This enables the overall system to work more efficiently and helps avoid unnecessary disruptions in service that could be caused by incorrect settings.

In addition, the tool can identify gaps in settings, as well as in system design and configuration, to clear potential faults from the system. This helps prevent safety risks to employees, customers, and the public.

            "AEIC is proud to recognize PPL Electric Utilities with two awards this year for projects that significantly improve utility operations in key areas," said AEIC CEO Steve Hauser. "Their unique approach to pole inspection leadership and innovation in power system analysis is improving operational efficiency exponentially."






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