A Smarter, Stronger Grid

Enhancing Reliability

I&M’s Michigan Plan is focused on enhancing our infrastructure in southwest Michigan. These enhancements will help reduce the number, extent and duration of outages. They will help build a stronger electric grid to serve the area decades into the future.

Much of I&M’s system was built in the 1960s and 1970s. Today’s wires and poles are stronger and more resilient. In addition, strides in technology offer more ways to reduce outages.

I&M has developed a five-year Distribution Reliability Plan to systematically and strategically strengthen infrastructure in Michigan, prioritizing enhancements to address the most immediate needs first. The first two years of the plan are included in the Michigan Plan.

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Improving the Grid

I&M’s Michigan Plan for 2019 and 2020 calls for:

  • Proactively replacing more than 1,200 poles, rebuilding about 40 miles of Distribution lines and replacing more than 6,000 fuses and lightning arresters.
  • Replacing existing customer meters with smart meters that can help identify possible problems on the system. If an outage occurs, the meters contribute to quicker restoration. The meters also give customers the ability to view their hourly energy use, empowering them to make more-informed decisions about how they use energy.
  • Moving 24 miles of lines from remote areas, including swamps, to easier-to-access locations.
  • Three new substations and significant upgrades to 11 existing substations in southwest Michigan.
  • Addressing the No. 1 cause of outages by trimming trees along more than 1,000 miles of power lines.
  • Installing new sensors to continuously monitor power lines, allowing I&M’s energy experts to identify problems and address any outages more quickly.
  • Installing smart re-closers that enable I&M to operate switching equipment remotely.
  • Deploying new equipment that can automatically detect an outage, isolate the problem and reroute power to the greatest number of customers. This technology is called Distribution Automated Circuit Reconfiguration.
  • Deploying technology to remotely monitor various data readings from substations and adjust grid configurations as needed. This technology is called Station Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).
  • Continuing thorough inspections of poles, overhead wires and underground equipment to identify safety hazards and equipment needing replacement or maintenance.

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