UK-based remote sensor monitoring company EkkoSense has partnered with electricity network provider Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to conduct trials on an early warning sensor solution.

The solution combines an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor, LoRa long-range wireless communications, and solarpower.

EkkoSense's chief technology officer Stu Redshaw said: “This is a great application of technologies that we have been developing for several years. For SSEN our IoT sensors will monitor the angle and stability of the wooden poles.

“This data will then be analysed on an EkkoSoft monitoring platform that applies complex algorithms to decide if a threshold has been breached and an alarm should be raised. These alarms are relayed automatically to SSEN that determines the correct course of action when a pole tilts or moves.

"For SSEN our IoT sensors will monitor the angle and stability of the wooden poles."

“In short, we should know when a wooden pole is weak or unstable and action its replacement/repair ahead of it falling in a storm and disrupting the power supply.”

When the sensor is deployed on the electricity pole, it has the ability to detect if the pole is at an incline due to high-winds. If the pole leans to dangerous levels, then the sensor communicates the need for maintenance before any further damage is caused. In addition, the sensor device has the ability to sense shock and vibration from impact of any debris during a storm.

Scottish and Southern Electricity's future networks head Stewart Reid said: “Our network is designed to cope with the most extreme weather and any innovation that can deliver an early warning to help ensure we continue to provide a safe and secure electricity supply to our customers is welcomed.”

LoRa communications and solar power is suitable for remote power line networks in areas where the wind speeds are very high. Initially, trails will be performed on the Isle of Skye to test the solution’s applicability and identify potential cost savings.

Image: EkkoSense IoT based sensors to be tested on SSEN power lines. Photo: courtesy of EkkoSense.