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Preventing outages of all types – widespread or localized, long-lasting or momentary – is the singular aim of the hundreds of professionals who work for Georgia Transmission. As such, we are proud to say we have been able to reduce outages at a time when the statewide power grid has been under pressure from decades of growth in population and per-capita electricity use.
In recent years, we’ve set company records for the fewest sustained outages per consumer, fewest momentary outages per consumer and lowest overall outage time. We now average about 10 minutes per EMC consumer per year. While we’re pleased with our progress, we are working to improve on past performance with companywide short-term and long-term goals. Reliability levels vary by location, fluctuate over time and depend on continuous effort to remain high.
As population and personal energy consumption grow, the transmission grid must expand to ensure there is sufficient capacity. Otherwise, parts of the system could be overloaded, resulting in a decrease of available power. This decrease in reliability could lead to longer outages and slower restoration times. It also could expose equipment to possible damage, increasing the risk of blackouts. Planning is typically performed three to seven years in advance, and we jointly plan the statewide transmission system with the state’s other utilities through the Integrated Transmission System.
We first look at upgrading and expanding existing facilities, completing annually more than 100 upgrades, such as adding larger transformers to substations or upgrading existing power lines. When existing facility upgrades are inadequate, new power lines and substations are built, resulting in up to 100 miles of transmission lines and about 15 substations each year.
Maintenance of our nearly 3,000 miles of transmission lines and substations prevents outages and ensures quicker repairs. We are continuously upgrading equipment and adding remote monitoring equipment along our network. We also aggressively inspect our substations and power lines.
These and other programs helped us pass our company's first audit in 2008, of new federal reliability standards, and they ensure we remain in compliance with dozens of mandatory electric reliability requirements.