Futuristic technology designed to prevent power cuts is being trialled by UK Power Networks.
Britain’s biggest electricity distributor is testing Distribution Fault Anticipation (DFA) technology in the South East and East of England as a way to spot network faults, before they interrupt people’s supplies. The DFA-Plus device monitors voltage and current on electricity circuits and matches any abnormal waveforms with a library of most likely causes.
The system works at high sampling rates to detect even tiny disturbances on the network that are not usually visible using traditional network protection devices. During testing, the technology revealed disturbances on two separate cable terminations, up to eight weeks before they interrupted power supplies. It also showed that when third party workers accidentally damaged the outer sheath of a high voltage cable (though not sufficient to cause the circuit to trip) the DFA detected disturbances on the cable and it faulted weeks later.