February 6, 2019 / 2:18 PM / 7 months ago

IBM develops new technology to help prevent power outages

FILE PHOTO: The IBM logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - IBM Corp. has developed technology to predict and monitor when and where trees and vegetation threaten power lines which could help improve power supply operations and reduce outages, it said on Wednesday.

Vegetation can cause disruption for energy companies, often growing over or obstructing power transmission lines. Energy suppliers usually deal with this by conducting regular inspections and trimming.

IBM’s system uses data collected by satellites, drones, aerial flights, sensors and weather models to help companies monitor the state and maintenance of hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution lines.

As well as identifying and predicting outage threats, the system can also help with grid reliability, wildfire prevention, storm management and assessment, the company said.

“Every business is affected by weather. But for energy companies and their customers, it can mean the difference between whether they can keep the lights on and heat their homes,” said Cameron Clayton, IBM’s general manager of Watson Media and Weather.

“The ability to layer weather data with satellite and sensor data gives utility companies powerful new insights to help them improve operations and minimize impact on their customers,” he added.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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