Beneco uses advanced ‘fault locator’


BAGUIO CITY — The Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) has embarked on a new feature in its distribution system — perhaps, the first among electric cooperatives in the country — to test what is called “fault locator technology.”

With it, Beneco special equipment and metering engineer Mario Calatan said the cooperative will be able to detect any abnormality in the distribution system, including those faults that have the potential of becoming full blown faults that could cause power interruption.

Considered a first in the country, the technology will improve the electric cooperative’s ability to act with dispatch to prevent faults, Mr. Calatan said.

He said this new technology is an enhancement of Beneco’s highly benchmarked Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).

While other electric cooperatives have yet to acquire their own SCADA, BENECO is leveling up through its European supplier of the fault locator technology. 

Mr. Calatan explained that a fault is an abnormality in the distribution system that eventually causes a line to fluctuate whether temporary or permanent that could cause a full-blown power interruption.

“The Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) offered such a rare technology which triangulates fault locations. This means the system can pinpoint exactly where the fault lies within a 10-meter radius. It also has the ability to detect grass and forest fires that threaten the distribution lines,” he said.

For this pilot project, Beneco chose three different areas in BENECO’s distribution system where power interruption often happened in the past. If the equipment works, additional units will be purchased to be installed in all the other feeders and circuits.

Beneco was chosen as the first pilot area (distribution utility) because its distribution system is technologically ready, “thanks to the Department of Energy that certified BENECO being a level 2 smart distribution utility,” said Beneco General Manager Melchor Licoben. — Artemio A. Dumlao