Distribution Fault Anticipation (DFA) technology helped Mid-South Synergy Electric Cooperative (MSEC) diagnose a complex fault event that included a difficult-to-diagnose condition known as fault-induced conductor slap (FICS). Absent remediation, FICS tends to recur. Each instance causes sparks that can ignite a fire. Repetitive instances progressively damage conductors, which can cause them to break and fall, endangering the public. Remediation of FICS typically is straightforward, if the utility is aware that it is occurring. DFA provided MSEC’s only notice that FICS had occurred.
MSEC is one of seven utility companies participating in the Texas Power Line-Caused Wildfire Mitigation project, a field demonstration supported by the Texas legislature. As part of that effort, MSEC has instrumented ten circuits, primarily long, rural circuits, with DFA technology. Each is fitted with a single, substation-installed DFA device, which detects faults, failures, and other events along the circuit’s length and reports them to a central master station server computer for access by personnel. MSEC has used DFA to diagnose multiple types of diverse issues on their circuits.