AES Ohio works around the clock to provide our customers with safe and reliable power.
Unfortunately, however, there are still power interruptions. Sometimes these are caused by Mother Nature, sometimes by traffic accidents or crews digging into electrical lines and, on occasion, equipment can fail. In the years to come, AES Ohio’s Smart Grid will be able reduce the number of customers impacted by outages, and when there is an outage, reduce the amount of time to restore power.
How does the Smart Grid keep the power on?
Most of the traditional distribution grid is built using a "hub-and-spoke" pattern. The Smart Grid can connect the “spokes” to enable multiple distribution paths. When facing an issue like a tree falling on a line, a lightning strike, or a short circuit, Smart Grid technologies collectively called “distribution automation” can sense the problem and automatically reroute power around it. This can mean the difference between a lengthy outage and a momentary one where the only sign something is happening is that lights flicker.
Without a Smart Grid in place, the only way to do this is to send a service crew out to inspect the problem, which of course means that the outage will last at least until they are on-site to investigate.
Distribution field inventory FAQs
AES Ohio is conducting a distribution field inventory to improve safety and reliably serve the growing needs of our customers and support the implementation of our Smart Grid plan.
AES Ohio is conducting a field inventory of their distribution electric assets to update the geographic location, presence of equipment tags and a photograph of the condition. AES Ohio is implementing a new Outage Management System as part of our Smart Grid plan. The data is needed to ensure this system works as effectively as possible to minimize customer outages and speed up restoration response times in the future.
Utility-owned assets often reside on customer property, such as electric meters, overhead electric service lines, pad mounted transformers, and poles and wires in easements either in front of or behind houses.
Technicians from AES Ohio and UTS Engineering under contract by AES Ohio are taking photographs of electric equipment assets to verify the condition and whether it has a utility ID tag for identification. Technicians are not photographing any other items other than electrical equipment. At times, we may step back and take a wide shot to make sure we have all the equipment in one photo (such as a pole with transformers).
AES Ohio is collecting vital information to support our Smart Grid plan. We will validate our records, maps and prepare for the implementation of advanced technology and enhanced services for our customers. Additionally, the photos will help us accurately update our system maps with visual representations of equipment locations and conditions allowing us to improve our responses to both outages and service requests.
You can ask to see a worker's AES Ohio-issued contractor badge. The worker will also have a phone number for the AES Ohio Customer Solutions Center so you verify the company is contracted to AES Ohio to perform this work on their behalf.
Throughout 2022, 2023 and 2024, we will conduct field visits to all our electric circuits in the system collecting operational and geographic information across the AES Ohio 24-county service territory.
If you have questions not covered in this FAQ, contact the AES Ohio Customer Solutions Center by calling 877-4OUTAGE (877-468-8243).
The power is off. How does the Smart Grid help me now?
Without smart meters, AES Ohio relies on its customers to report an outage so we have a complete picture of the extent of the problem. In the future, the AES Ohio smart meters will be able to detect problems and notify us of issues with your service. Once AES Ohio installs a smart meter in your home, we may already know you have an outage before you report it.
In addition to letting us know of a problem, Smart Grid technology will also help us diagnose the problem before sending a service crew to ensure the crew has the right equipment to fix the problem. Before Smart Grid, one crew would have to go out, inspect the problem, and radio for another crew to bring the right materials and supplies. This remote diagnosis significantly reduces both the time and cost for restoring power.
Sometimes when power goes out — for example, during a storm with numerous trees down — there are multiple problems on the distribution grid. Before Smart Grid, multiple outages like this could be difficult to diagnose. After fixing one problem, service crews could leave an area with multiple outages under the mistaken belief that power was back on for all customers.
When smart meters are in place, utility crews will be able to “ping” meters within an outage area to make sure that power has been restored for all customers. This facilitates more effective diagnosis and restoration of multiple outages.