Building resiliency through a smart utility network: Fayetteville, NC
Xylem helps communities stand strong in the face of severe weather through smart utility network technologies that serve our water and energy essential services providers. Six years ago, Fayetteville PWC, the largest public power provider in North Carolina, adopted a smart utility network from Sensus, a Xylem brand. The network solution allows the utility to improve communications and streamline its outage management program to keep power running to the communities it serves in good times and bad.
This approach helped Fayetteville PWC navigate Hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina in 2018, causing historic flooding and $24 billion in damages. Last year, utility leaders reflected on how innovative technologies made a difference during that challenging time:
“What made Florence such a menace was its longevity,” said Mark Brown, senior customer programs officer, Fayetteville Public Works Commission. “We had up to 20 inches of rain in certain parts of our area and damage that left more than 50,000 customers without power.”
For years, Fayetteville PWC practiced and refined emergency plans to be ready for an event of this magnitude. They knew that supporting their 82,000 electric customers through the hurricane would require the hard work of every staff member and the right technology to get service restored as quickly as possible.
At the peak of the storm, 15 of 35 substations lost service. Downed powerlines and toppled trees blocked streets. Mutual aid workers from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee helped Fayetteville PWC’s lineworkers restore service.
“We were able to act quickly because our system let us know exactly where to put boots on the ground,” said Brown. “We had 97 percent of customers who lost power back up and running within 96 hours.”