San Miguel Power Association is taking time during the exceptional drought conditions the West is experiencing to explore and incorporate innovative solutions to prevent wildland fires in its service territory.
Like any electric co-op does in high-risk fire areas, SMPA transports electricity through fire zones that are made up of dry, wooded terrain. There is the risk that power lines could spark a fire. In proactive measures, the Nucla-based co-op’s engineers and mapping technicians are building fire map layers to stage a plan for the deployment of “Trip Saver” devices throughout its grid.
The Trip Saver replaces standard fuses on power lines and uses a vacuum interrupter that prevents sparks or heated materials from being discharged. This helps to reduce the chance of a wildfire caused by co-op infrastructure and equipment.
Another added benefit of a Trip Saver is that power outages don’t last very long. After the fault is cleared (80% resolve on their own), the device is able to reclose the circuit without requiring a service crew to drive to the outage location and replace the fuse.