• Launch brings significant enhancement to Lucy Electric’s GridKey grid monitoring and fault detection solutions
  • Pioneering AI technology creates ‘digital twin’ at the cable level using vast data to predict fault location probability with 100% success rate
  • Advanced system could reduce time and cost of repairs by two thirds with consumers benefitting from fewer power cuts

Lucy Electric, an international leader in intelligent secondary power distribution products and solutions, introduces Synaps, a market-leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that brings together existing advanced grid monitoring capabilities with cutting edge AI to revolutionise fault detection and asset management for underground cables.

Synaps is a fault detection, classification and accurate location solution that uses AI and machine learning to reduce faults on the LV network. It works by using sensors at a substation and feeder level to detect anomalies in grid performance and uses a ‘digital twin’ of the network to pinpoint the probable location of intermittent faults.

Paul Beck, Gridkey & Innovation Director at Lucy Electric, said: “As electrical networks get older and the load on them is increased, reliability becomes a significant issue. Detecting and repairing underground intermittent faults is often complex and costly, starting small and worsening over time until fuses blow and emergency repairs are needed to restore power.

“This exciting technology, when coupled with our existing GridKey monitoring system, allows improved fault management specifically the ability to carry out preventative maintenance before larger faults occur, delivering significant savings and reducing customer outages.”

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: “Synaps is already improving our service and benefitting our customers through a more reliable network at lower cost.” Kevin Dennis, Innovation NIA Project Manager at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks added “Synaps is industry-leading in its capabilities and the opportunity for Lucy Electric to bring it to market at scale is welcomed.”

The AI uses this ‘digital twin’ to simulate faults in millions of scenarios, with machine learning technology then comparing this to the measured network data captured when there is a current transient – a so called “pecking event”. This is a highly effective way of locating cable faults as unlike other technologies it works not just with large transients where there is an immediate chance of the fuse operating, but also with very small transients typical of the start of a cable fault.

The method allows network operators to repair more faults as part of planned maintenance before they cause outages. As unplanned maintenance typically costs up to three times the amount of planned maintenance, Synaps provides significant cost saving potential to network operators.

Having already undergone successful innovation trials with several UK Distribution Network Operators, Lucy Electric’s existing capabilities in this space make it the ideal company to commercialise the technology and deliver a transformative solution.