Good Will Hunting: SDG&E Edition

How many of us have tried to tackle the daunting math problems featured in movies like Good Will Hunting?

Thank goodness, great math minds exist in our midst, and they are putting their talent to work right here in our region to keep us safe from wildfires. In fact, some of our brainiac employees have developed a mathematical formula to stop the flow of power to a broken power line, eliminating a potential ignition source.

How does it work?

Every day, our smart power grid is collecting and sending data at speeds faster than the blink of an eye. Everything from how much and when electricity is running through power lines, to when an outage occurs and more.

How can we use the data to improve operations?

After extensive number crunching and testing, our team of engineers developed a formula that tells our electric system to immediately shut off power on a line if it’s broken.

What was coined the Falling Conductor Protection system has turned into a successful safety mechanism that will protect you, your family and neighbors.

How the system enhances safety

  1. A power line is broken, for example by strong winds, or by a vehicle hitting a pole;
  2. The damaged power line begins to fall to the ground (SDG&E engineers have determined that a power line takes an average of 1.37 seconds to hit the ground);
  3. The electric system detects a break and shuts off the power before the clock hits 1.37 seconds.

While that may seem simple enough, it took extensive laboratory and field testing to ensure this latest innovation would complement our existing layers of protection to guard against fires and other power line-related safety issues.  

The advanced Falling Conductor Protection system has been patented by SDG&E’s engineers and is getting programmed into the operations of a neighborhood near you.

Click here to learn more about our preparedness and fire-hardening efforts.