Duquesne Light Company to Implement New System to Improve Underground Cable Safety

Winning solution of public challenge will provide real-time information to make Pittsburgh region’s underground electrical grid safer and more reliable

PITTSBURGH — Following a two-year process, Duquesne Light Company (DLC) has selected the winning solution of its public crowdsourcing innovation challenge — “Monitoring Electrical Cable Challenge: The Future of Underground Inspection” — focused on creating a safer and more reliable underground electrical network in DLC’s two-county service territory in southwestern Pennsylvania. The “Smart Cable Guard” system by DNV stood out among other submissions for its quick installation times, enhanced visibility on potential infrastructure issues and ability to be effectively applied to Pittsburgh’s complex electrical grid. The Smart Cable Guard also met the challenge’s safety, operational and cost requirements needed to move the implementation process forward.

“DLC is committed to investing in critical infrastructure and enhancing our dedication to worker and public safety. This project emphasizes the importance of innovation in our industry and shows how DLC is solving current and future challenges while continuing to drive our mission of a clean energy future for all,” said Brian Guzek, DLC’s vice president of corporate strategy. “DNV’s Smart Cable Guard will enable us to identify and address potential issues within our underground cable system faster, which will lead to improved worker and public safety for many years to come. We greatly appreciate DNV’s collaboration and expertise over the past few years and look forward to implementing their devices across our underground network.”

The Smart Cable Guard system is designed to be installed throughout the underground electrical grid, feeding real-time data into an analytics platform powered by AI that sends operational alerts to DLC. The company will receive live data that quickly locates cable faults, identifies current cable conditions and predicts future issues before any work is performed. The information can also help crews determine what protective gear and equipment are necessary to have on-site. DLC is only the third utility in North America to implement this innovative technology.

“It was highly rewarding to work with DLC’s Innovation team to showcase our technology in alignment with their specifications and demonstrate that our online monitoring platform is ideally suited to support the requirements of U.S. utilities,” said Richard Denissen, director of Smart Cable Guard at DNV. “Winning the competition is a testament to the need for technology that enables utilities to keep power outages at a minimum while ensuring safety for their workers and the public. We are delighted that DLC’s independent competition confirmed that the Smart Cable Guard 24/7 online monitoring system is the leading solution to improve grid reliability, resilience and safety.”

DLC launched the innovation challenge in December 2021 through crowdsourcing platform HeroX and received submissions from entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers and students from around the world. Beginning in 2025, the company expects to implement DNV’s system across more than 500 miles of its underground network over a five-year period.

About DNV

DNV is the independent expert in risk management and assurance, operating in more than 100 countries. Through its broad experience and deep expertise, DNV advances safety and sustainable performance, sets industry benchmarks and inspires and invents solutions. Whether assessing a new ship design, optimizing the performance of a wind farm, analyzing sensor data from a gas pipeline or certifying a food company’s supply chain, DNV enables its customers and their stakeholders to make critical decisions with confidence. Driven by its purpose to safeguard life, property and the environment, DNV helps tackle the challenges and global transformations facing its customers and the world today and is a trusted voice for many of the world’s most successful and forward-thinking companies. ​ 

DNV provides assurance to the entire energy value chain through its advisory, monitoring, verification and certification services. As the world’s leading resource of independent energy experts and technical advisors, the assurance provider helps industries and governments to navigate the many complex, interrelated transitions taking place globally and regionally in the energy industry. DNV is committed to realizing the goals of the Paris Agreement and supports customers to transition faster to a deeply decarbonized energy system. Learn more at www.dnv.com.



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About Duquesne Light Company

For more than 100 years, Duquesne Light Company has provided safe and reliable electric service to communities in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today, our core values of safety, integrity, dependability, equity and community enable us to serve more than 600,000 customers in two counties, including the city of Pittsburgh. We are committed to safely powering our customers’ lives while playing a leading role in our region’s clean energy transition. Our vision is to create a larger-than-light, clean energy future for all by delivering exceptional results today and boldly harnessing opportunities for tomorrow. In doing so, we can ensure a cleaner, healthier and more equitable community for generations to come.


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