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EPB's smart grid and IntelliRupter feeding continuous power to customers

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The EPB held their demonstration in response to the number of calls they sometimes get from customers who believe a nearby power transformer may be shorting out when in reality, its new technology at work, saving time and money.

Houston Thomas, EPB construction manager, "That is the sound of progress, that is the smart grid working and our intellirupter going through the test."

EPB construction manager Houston Thomas on those big, metal boxes many Chattanoogans have seen lately atop a power pole.

They're called intellirupters, and they can be loud.

Chattanooga's city-owned utility deploys 12-hundred of them across 600 square miles.

It's an automated switch, that's linked to EPB's smart grid, designed to help prevent or limit power outages.

Jim Glass, EPB smart grid manager, "We're mitigating the impact of that problem to a smaller number of customers."

EPB smart grid manager Jim Glass says each unit costs anywhere from 30 to 35 thousand dollars, and proved their value last February with the snowstorm that cut power to thousands.

Houston Thomas, EPB construction manager, "We're able to isolate where the problems are quicker and get trucks and crews to that location faster."

Without the intellirupters, EPB estimates last year's snow driven outage would have impacted double their customers affected, not to mention speedier restoration times

Jim Glass, EPB smart grid manager, "If it's good, it will stay closed, if the problem is still there after the test, it will open back up, and then it will start communicating with other switches."

And reroute power away from the point of trouble.

EPB says beyond the time and money saved by both commercial and residential customers, the intellirupters have also helped Chattanooga attract and retain businesses dependent on their fiber optic smart grid , and maybe more importantly, the jobs that go with them.

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