As Beacon Broadband celebrated connecting its 500th customer in March, Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative is awaiting the day it can reap the benefits of the new fiber broadband network. CCEC will subscribe to Beacon Broadband to meet our connectivity needs because Beacon’s business products are unmatched for speed, reliability, service, and value on the south coast. That is just the start of the value the new fiber network will bring to CCEC.
The Beacon Broadband fiber network is being built along the same path as our electric power lines. That means the benefits of fiber communications will be available across most of the electric plant. Today we have limited communications to our 13 substations through a radio system, but the radio system simply does not have enough capacity to take advantage of smart grid technologies available.
Think about how the Internet of Things has changed the data needs in our homes over the past decade. When Beacon Broadband connected its 500th customer, a household of four with two teenagers, the new wireless network connected with 30 devices in their home. The average U.S. home has 25 connected devices. The CCEC electric plant spans the most rural parts of Coos and Curry counties, with more than 1,600 miles of power lines connecting 18,000-plus meters to 13 substations and a dispatch center. Currently, many devices cannot be remotely monitored or controlled. The fiber network will enable the connectivity required to take advantage of new power system technologies.
With connectivity made possible through the Beacon Broadband fiber network, CCEC will be able to:
- Upgrade substation physical and cybersecurity.
- Detect outages and dispatch repair crews before a member reports an outage.
- Have real-time access to system data in the field, helping crews with maintenance, repair, and storm restoration work.
- Detect and correct system voltage fluctuations.
- Adapt to changing energy generation and use patterns as more renewable energy sources are connected to the grid and electric vehicles become more prevalent.
This is only a partial list of opportunities to improve how we operate and maintain the electric system when fiber connectivity becomes available. That translates into reduced costs and enhanced reliability as CCEC fulfills our mission to serve you the energy that powers your life.