An innovative piece of kit that reduces the impact of power cuts on people across the North West has received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Engineering firm Kelvatek developed the ‘smart fuse’ in partnership with the region’s power network operator, Electricity North West, and the technology has now been rolled out nationwide.
Electricity North West engineering director, Steve Cox, said: “Looking after the region’s electricity network, it’s our job to keep energy flowing across the North West. Many power cuts are caused by blown fuses in substations, meaning that people can be without power until an engineer gets to the substation and replaces the fuse.
“This clever piece of kit detects blown fuses and automatically switches supplies to a backup, without the need to wait for an engineer, reconnecting customers’ supplies within a few seconds.
“We’re delighted that it’s been such a success and that this innovative work has been recognised with this award.”
The smart fuse, also known as a ‘Bidoyng’ after the noise made when it activates, is also equipped with innovative fault-location technology which sends information to the electricity control centre. This alerts engineering teams to any problems and enables them to detect and repair faults on the network much faster.
Kelvatek managing director Peter Cunningham said: “We’re delighted that our ground-breaking Bidoyng smart fuse has been recognised with this prestigious award.
“We have been working with Electricity North West since 2005 and the development of the Bidoyng is one of our most successful collaborations.
“It involved a huge amount of hard work and dedication from both companies to develop, test and successfully launch the Bidoyng onto the market.”
Several hundred of these smart fuses are now installed on the North West’s electricity network helping to restore supplies to customers every day, and there are now over 10,000 smart fuses in use across the UK.
Steve Cox added, “We’re committed to embracing new technology and using it to ensure our customers across the North West have the power they need when they need it.
“Using these innovative devices on our network has made a huge difference to our ability to restore supplies quickly and efficiently and has improved service to thousands of electricity customers across the North West.
“The Bidoyng is a great example of how working closely with our technology partners, like Kelvatek, can bring real benefits to our customers.”