The 2023 Automatic Transfer Recloser (ATR) deployment plan is part of the company’s overall strategy to enhance the electric grid’s reliability and make it more resilient.
Consumers Energy has revealed plans to install 123 new automatic transfer reclosers (ATRs) this year to help reduce power outages and improve electric reliability for its customers.
ATRs are technologies that automatically transfer power and isolate problems on electric lines. They are programmed to detect power loss and follow predetermined actions to help reroute power in another direction. The ATRs are deployed to improve public safety and reduce the number of customers affected by outages.
Consumers Energy has nearly 470 ATRs in operation and will target areas most affected by outages over the past year with the deployment of the new devices. The 2023 ATR deployment plan is part of the company’s overall strategy to enhance the electric grid’s reliability and make it more resilient.
“After the February ice storms, we know customers are asking for a stronger and smarter power grid. By focusing on tree trimming, upgrading our electric grid, and using automation and other technology to quickly detect and resolve problems, we can drastically improve the electric grid and make it more reliable for all our customers,” said Chris Laird, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric operations.
“ATRs – sometimes referred to as the traffic light of the power grid – are one of many valuable tools that help reduce the number of outages our customers face. The ATRs are programmed to detect power loss and follow predetermined actions to help reroute power in another direction. We remain committed to doing more to update the grid and make it work better for our customers.”
The majority of the 123 new ATRs are expected to be installed and online by the summer of 2023. In 2022 alone, Consumers Energy estimated that ATRs helped prevent tens of thousands of outages. For instance, during the August 2022 thunderstorms, the ATRs prevented outages for nearly 9,000 customers, including 770 businesses, by isolating outages to the smallest area possible.
Consumers Energy continues to invest in the grid to enhance safety, prevent outages and better serve customers, including allocating $15 million annually for ATRs.
The company’s investment in ATRs and automation is an essential part of its $5.4 billion electric reliability plan, a blueprint for serving Michigan today while investing and innovating to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Besides ATRs, the company reports they are investing in tree trimming, upgrading its electric grid, and upgrading key infrastructure such as substations. These investments are becoming more important as climate change causes more frequent and severe