Underground Network Monitoring

In 2018, a multi-year initiative at six operating companies to modernize and reinforce AEP’s 21 underground electrical networks will be complete. The Underground Network (UGN) Monitoring project is already changing the way we collect, communicate and use information and data to support the Operations, Engineering and Planning functions of the operating companies’ critical UGN systems.

AEP's multi-year underground monitoring initiative gives us the capability to monitor underground networks in real time using fiber optics and cutting-edge sensor technology to capture data in five-second intervals.

The approximately $84 million project gives us the capability to monitor the networks in real time using fiber optics and cutting-edge sensor technology to capture data in five-second intervals. This gives us a real-time view of the distribution grid. The energy company of the future will need this capability as the distribution system becomes a more diverse, flexible system, allowing all resources to connect and manage demand at the same time.

With sensors and state-of-the-art telecom technology, we have a view of the underground system that we’ve never had before, allowing us to proactively manage the system. The insights we get from monitoring the system in real-time will also give underground network line crews more information about the facilities before they enter and as they prepare to perform their work, making it a safer work environment.

In addition, having the data to eventually be able to predict and prevent failures, the Engineering and Planning groups will be able to use the data to support load forecasting and other engineering needs. This transformational network was designed to support technologies that can be added in the future, too.