Serving the area near Guadalajara in central Spain, Hidroeléctrica El Carmen has long traditions and more than 100 years of experience in the electricity sector.
Hidroeléctrica El Carmen serves more than 8,000 customers with 200 km of medium voltage lines, more than 100 km of low voltage lines, and more than 50 transformer substations. In addition to the distribution activity, Hidroeléctrica El Carmen participates in numerous initiatives in the energy sector, such as hydroelectric power generation, electricity generation from waste materials, and energy sales.
With our Spanish partner, GEDLux, Safegrid has delivered an Intelligent Grid System™ solution to Hidroeléctrica El Carmen to improve their visibility into their distribution grids and locate faults faster and more accurately than before. We had a chance to sit down with the Technical Director of Hidroeléctrica El Carmen, Mr. Santiago Machacón, and find out what their experience with Safegrid solutions has been like.
Safegrid: How did you find Safegrid or hear about them?
Santiago Machacón: We found Safegrid through GEDLux, an engineering company we regularly work with. GEDLux had recently partnered with Safegrid, and they felt the solution might offer value for us.
Safegrid: What problem or need did you want to solve with the Safegrid solution?
Santiago Machacón: Our immediate need was the fast and accurate location of faults that trigger line protectors and cut off electric service.
Safegrid: Did you consider other solutions?
Santiago Machacón: Yes, we considered fault passage detectors directly in the medium voltage network control system, but they did not fulfill our requirements.
Safegrid: Why did you choose Safegid?
Santiago Machacón: GEDLux knew we were looking for a solution and proposed the Safegrid system to us. It seemed like a system that was easy to use and quick to install. With the Safegrid Intelligent Grid System, we can locate faults with a system that is separate from the Remote Control system. Safegrid also gives us much better location accuracy as the Remote Control System only informs us where the fault has passed, and we have to deduce the actual fault location from that information. We also found it a good idea to have a separate system independent of the primary remote control system. If the remote control system does not communicate, we can still locate the fault with the Safegrid system and then isolate the fault area manually for repairs.
Safegrid: If you hadn’t found Safegrid, how would you have solved the problem?
Santiago Machacón: We might have tried systems from other companies (such as Exeri) or increased the number of fault passage indicator devices in our remote control system
Safegrid: Have you been satisfied with the Safegrid solution?
Santiago Machacón: We are currently satisfied with the Safegrid solution. Even though we are still making final adjustments to the system, it is already quite accurate. We still need to install the rest of the devices to our network and confirm the system’s usefulness, but based on our experiences, the Safegrid system is quite helpful for us.
Safegrid: What benefits have you gotten from the Safegrid solution?
Santiago Machacón: It is beneficial when we have to quickly isolate areas of our network due to a fault. The reaction times to isolate the affected area and to be able to return to providing electrical service have been reduced, and service interruptions are shorter than before.
Safegrid: Has something gone exceptionally well, or is there something especially memorable about your experience?
Santiago Machacón: Quick service restoration to areas affected by faults is essential to us. Also, just recently, we were able to locate and replace a faulty circuit breaker that kept tripping and causing interruptions. Finding this fault saved us a lot of time!
Safegrid: Would you be willing to recommend Safegrid to your colleagues in other electricity companies?
Santiago Machacón: Absolutely!
Safegrid: What could Safegrid do better as a company or where is room for improvement?
Santiago Machacón: The system shows a lot of events, and being able to filter and group them better might be nice. But that is a relatively minor thing.
Safegrid: Thank you so much for your time, Santiago! I hope things go well, and I will talk to you again soon.
Santiago Machacón: Thank you!