Success Story: Smart Grid Technology Brings Power to Local Residents Stuck in the Dark

To the people of Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, unpredictable power outages were a way of life that impacted businesses, schools, and homes. Any time there was a storm or technical failure, people could lose power for lengthy periods of time.
Together the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners, the United States Energy Association (USEA), Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) and Brcko Komunalna, the electric utility serving the Brcko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina, supported a smart grid technology pilot project that has dramatically improved the reliability of electricity for families and businesses in Brcko.
Schweitzer Engineering’s technology can instantaneously identify the location of power outages caused by storms and technical failures on one of Brcko’s distribution lines. When power went out prior to the project, employees would have to drive or walk along the power lines until they found the problem. The new technology not only reduces the number of trucks and employees needed to restore service, but also results in improved customer service and reduced emissions and expenses associated with the use of diesel powered backup generators.
“Thanks to this technology, our engineers know the precise location of a network fault, which improves the speed of repair on the distribution network and reduces the duration of interruptions in the supply of electricity,“ said Samir Snagic, executive manager of Brcko Municipality’s power utility division.
The project has reduced the number, frequency and duration of customer outages compared with the same period last year. Customers on the affected line have experienced a 51% reduction in the number of outages and a 58% reduction – or about 8 hours -- in the duration of outages. The success of the project in Brcko can be applied to other regions with similar issues accessing electricity.
Radivoye Djuric, President of the Potocari local community says the project has significantly improved electricity service. “After years of problems, frequent power cuts and long lasting interuptions, residents in this local community have a regular supply of electricity,” he said with a smile.

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