In Canada, the quality of electrical services varies according to region. Clients supplied downstream from a very extensive line that crosses a wooded or icy area or an area subject to strong winds experience more frequent and longer outages.
In metropolitan areas, the average client experiences less than 2 hours of outages each year. In contrast, it is not unusual for clients in rural areas to be without power for more than 20 hours a year. The improvement of electrical service quality is an important issue for residential, commercial and industrial customers in these rural communities.
Solutions involving metering and network automation are being developed to improve service quality. The development of intelligent network equipment makes it possible to detect and locate outages more quickly, reduce the number of customers affected and accelerate the reinstatement of service.
Until now, the majority of Canadian electricity distribution companies have avoided planned islanding of certain power plants connected to distribution, which would make it possible to supply a portion of the customers affected by a break upstream from the distribution network. This practice remains marginal, but major demonstration projects in Canada are showcasing the future possibilities offered by planned islanding and the development of microgrids.
Studies and testing carried out in this field follow, as well as research related to this issue:
To learn more about this issue, see the Publications section.
CanmetENERGY at the Varennes (Quebec) research centre.