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Flashover Prediction for T&D Networks

Innovative technology addressing power line insulator string contamination

Flashovers and the added value for power utilities of the MetrySense-4000 solution explained

MetrySense-4000 added value: utilities now have an overall vision of contamination levels

MetrySense4000_xx-smallPower quality is more important to both power utilities and power industry regulators nowadays. This increased awareness is attributed to the ongoing deregulation process, the aging electricity distribution systems and  increased environmental pollution. Consequently, power utilities invest billions of dollars in the maintenance of power transmission and distribution infrastructures. Utilities are seeking new technologies to reduce their maintenance costs, improve power quality, and enable the online control of the grid. Metrycom’s solution is designed to address these challenges.

The contamination of power line insulator strings is a major source of power quality impairment, which often causes flashovers resulting in shortcuts and wide-area power sags (instantaneous voltage level drops). The industry as a whole is significantly impacted by quality impairment, which in turn translates into enormous losses annually. To illustrate the type of economic costs engendered by contamination, a recent research conducted by the Italian regulatory authority, estimated that the loss due to power sags in Italy is about EUR 800 Million per annum.

Metrycom enables a transition from periodic to predictive maintenance


Currently, power utilities are spending millions of dollars every year in order to wash insulator strings, generally with helicopters and trucks. The limitation that these methods impose on maintenance crews is that they cannot get an overall view of the contamination level in the power transmission and distribution system. They are working blind and selecting the sections that need to be washed mainly based on experience, not on fact. This is proving extremely costly to the industry as a whole.

MetrySense-4000 is a flashover prediction solution for high voltage power grids:

Achieve a significant reduction in power interruptions and avoid unnecessary washing operations.

MS4000_Sensor_comboThe MetrySense-4000 sensors are at the heart of Metrycom’s flashover prediction solution, providing online insulator monitoring and supplying real-time accurate flashover predictions. Now, power utilities can optimize the utilization of resources and streamline costs by targeting only those sections presenting probable flashover risk. The result is a significant reduction in power interruptions and the avoidance of unnecessary washing operations.

The solution enables power utilities to:

  • Gain direct visibility as to the extent and location of flashovers on high voltage lines.
  • Target washing operations to contaminated sections only.
  • Monitor the quality of washing operations.
  • Improve overall grid power quality through more effective washing operations.
  • Eliminate unnecessary washing operations.
  • Reduce costs related to line washing.
  • Recoup investment in approximately 18 months.