Jan 2012
Electricity Distribution
The Bidoyng Smart Fuse
Jan 2012
Dec 2014
Electricity North West Limited
Electricity North West Innovation Team
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LCN Fund Tier 1
LV & 11kV Networks
In recognition of the number of transient faults being experienced on Low Voltage (LV) distribution networks and the constant drive to improve customer service, Electricity North West Ltd and its partners initiated the Innovation Funding Incentive funded fuse restorer project in 2006. The aim of the project was to develop a device capable of carrying two LV fuses in a standard size fuse carrier that could automatically insert a secondary fuse into a circuit, following a transient fault to restore supplies to customers and then send an alarm notification to a nominated contact.

Electricity North West Ltd's partners delivered the final device, now known as the 'Bidoyng smart fuse.' Three were installed on Electricity North West Ltd's network in Wigan, Lancashire, where they successfully operated to restore supplies to over 100 connected customers following a transient fault.

The smart fuse has been fully type tested (up to 50kA) and now provides a potential means to eliminate a significant proportion of transient faults based on developing a targeted installation strategy. During the development of the smart fuse, the debate on smart grids has developed significantly with the recognition that the LV network will become ever more important as domestic scale renewable energy generation is expected to play an ever greater part in the transition to a low carbon economy.

The aim of the project is to install 200 smart fuse units and gateways in identified LV circuits. The smart fuse units are retrofitted to the LV fuse position in the LV fuse pillar with 3 smart fuse units installed per feeder (one on each phase). 200 units will provide coverage for 66 feeders and one gateway is needed in each substation that smart fuses are installed.

The objective is to demonstrate the advantages of being able to automatically restore supplies to LV connected customers and to gather data about the performance such a device will deliver to the network. It is envisaged that other smart grid opportunities will arise once data has been gathered and evaluated.