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Alliant Energy employees undergrounding system.

Steps energy companies take to increase reliability of the distribution system

When you flip a light switch, you expect your lights to turn on. Under normal conditions, electricity is a constant. But with extreme weather events happening more often, how are energy companies responding to these challenges and working to make outages shorter and less frequent?

Energy providers invest in grid improvements to ensure the safety, security, reliability and affordability of electric and natural gas services. Here are some ways companies do that:

  • Undergrounding distribution lines. Placing power lines underground prevents the poles or lines from getting knocked down by trees, high winds or vehicle collisions. Data shows that where we’ve placed lines underground, customers experience 15 times fewer outages compared to overhead lines and the average outage duration is reduced by about 30%. The result: Improved reliability.
  • Installing new fiber cable. This allows companies to manage an increasingly complex grid that includes more and more distribution-connected devices, such as electric vehicle chargers and rooftop solar. Fiber communication also increases durability and enhances the security of communication systems. The result: Energy companies can access more up-to-date information during extreme weather events, when real-time communication is needed most.
  • Upgrading technology. To increase insights into – and enable – a more dynamic and efficient operation of the energy system, technology advancements are critical. The result: Dispatchers understand what is happening across the service area in real time, and then work with intelligent grid devices to guide field crews in restoring service to customers much faster.

Our investments in a more diverse energy mix, with the recent completion of 889 megawatts of solar energy in Wisconsin, enough to power approximately 250,000 homes annually, as well as our third-largest regulated wind operation in the U.S., help us provide safe, reliable energy when it’s needed.

These resources ensure we can meet the needs of customers – even on the hottest and coldest days of the year. With a diverse mix of generation paired with the above investments in our distribution resources, customers can expect to see improved reliability. Our goal is to keep the lights on every time you go to flip that switch.

If you’re interested in more information about the investments we’re making, be sure to check out our Wisconsin and Iowa rates webpages.

Chris is a Communications Partner specializing in Alliant Energy’s renewable investments. Coming from a journalism background, he’s excited to tell the story of Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint and other renewable trends in new and exciting ways.

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