NYSEG and RG&E Developing State-of-the-Art Outage Prediction System to Enhance Storm Preparedness and Response Efforts

Outage Prediction Model will be developed using machine learning in new partnership with UAlbany, UConn and the New York State Mesonet 

BINGHAMTON, NY — September 29, 2021 — New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) today announced a new partnership to develop an Outage Prediction Model (OPM) that applies machine learning to available weather data to improve the utilities’ ability to predict disruptions in their service.

NYSEG and RG&E, supported by parent company AVANGRID Inc., are partnering with the University at Albany, the University of Connecticut and MESO Inc. to analyze an array of weather-related factors that cause service disruptions and build a tool that the company can use to enhance its emergency preparedness and response efforts.

The project was awarded more than $600,000 in funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Smart Grid Program, which seeks to fund and support innovative projects to improve the resiliency, reliability, efficiency, quality and overall performance of the electric power delivery system in New York State.

NYSEG and RG&E cover more than 40 percent of New York state and serve approximately 1.28 million electricity customers.

“We’re excited to partner in the creation and piloting of this innovative prediction model that we expect will strengthen our storm response efforts with the potential to shorten durations of outages for the benefit of our customers,” said Trish Nilsen, Director of Emergency Preparedness for AVANGRID.

“NYSERDA is pleased to support NYSEG and RG&E’s collaboration with university researchers to develop a tool using machine learning techniques that aims to predict disruptions in service caused by weather events with greater accuracy in both location and timing than previous models,” said John Lochner, Vice President of Innovation at NYSERDA. “This project supports the state’s efforts to ensure a resilient and reliable energy system for all New Yorkers in the face of an increasing number of extreme weather events.”

Through this new technology, the utility companies expect to be able to apply artificial intelligence to its analysis of weather forecasts to better predetermine which areas of the electric distribution grid will be most significantly impacted by severe weather, in turn, tailoring their outage prediction and response.

Using meteorological research, along with weather observations from the New York State Mesonet and the machine learning-based modeling approaches of UConn and UAlbany, this project could potentially provide the basis for a comprehensive framework that the utility companies can use to more reliably allocate crews and resources ahead of a severe weather event.

“Over the last two decades, New York has experienced increasingly extreme weather that poses a risk for extended power outages and significant economic losses,” said Chris Thorncroft, director of UAlbany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC). “Our scientists at ASRC are focused on creating smart solutions for weather risk management decisions. We’re proud to partner on this new outage prediction model that will enhance utility services for more than a million electricity customers across the state.”

This effort will enhance an OPM developed at the UConn and AVANGRID, and expand it into the New York service areas of NYSEG and RG&E. It will consider many factors that can impact weather-related damage to the electric distribution system. Each storm-related outage is a complex interaction between atmospheric phenomena, ground cover and management, infrastructure characteristics (such as the strength of the power lines and poles) and soil properties. Understanding how these factors interact with each other in various ways will help predict the impact of storms.

The enhanced OPM pilot will implement a new way to allow the utilities to more accurately stage crews and resources to respond to severe weather events and restore power to customers as safely and quickly as possible.

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About NYSEG: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1852, NYSEG operates approximately 35,000 miles of electric distribution lines and 4,500 miles of electric transmission lines across more than 40% of upstate New York. It also operates more than 8,150 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines and 20 miles of gas transmission pipelines. It serves approximately 894,000 electricity customers and 266,000 natural gas customers. For more information, visit nyseg.com.

About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $36 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit avangrid.com.

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