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GridCom Monitoring & Control System Demonstration

Foster-Miller Technologies, Inc., Albany, NY


Traditional electric power distribution systems have little or no monitoring instrumentation. There is potential for system failure due to overload or inefficient operation as a result of less-than-optimal tap-changing transformer settings, switched capacitor banks, tie open point switches, and other controllable devices on distribution feeders. Identifying and locating faults is often a manual, time-consuming, expensive process that relies on customer trouble reports and line-crew inspection. There is a growing need among utilities for sensors and automated data processing techniques that monitor the distribution system.


The project objective is to develop and demonstrate a prototype monitoring and control system for medium-voltage overhead, electric power-distribution lines. The system will combine low-cost, easy-to-install sensor technology with software algorithms developed to detect and localize faults, and to characterize power quality.


GridCom sensors will be installed on distribution lines of New York State Electric & Gas and Long Island Power Authority. The sensors will measure instantaneous rms voltage, current, power factor, harmonic content, and peak voltage or current over a defined time interval. Input from eight sensors at each host utility will be integrated with the software to demonstrate the ability to provide real-time monitoring of current and voltage measurements, and use these data to detect and localize faults.


A successful technology demonstration will provide utilities with a tool to reduce outages, reduce operations and maintenance costs, improve service to customers, contribute to better management of electric power distribution, and reduce energy use. Integration of the technology will enable utilities to provide more efficient, cost effective, and reliable electric service. Detection and location of faults will allow better power service through quicker fault condition resolution and correction. Improved power factor regulation and system balancing can lead to better equipment utilization and longer service life for cables, transformers, and other equipment by providing real-time information.

Schedule and Status

A contract was executed and the project is under way

Last Updated: 02/27/2013