Innovations
Innovations
Innovation has long been a hallmark of SCANA Corporation, hailing back to when we powered the first gas streetlights in Aiken, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina. We brought power to the world's first electrically powered textile mill and in 1959 helped build the first electricity-producing nuclear power plant in the Southeast. More recently, SCE&G completed one of the longest horizontal directional drills in the world when it installed a 7,000-foot electric transmission cable 40 feet below a riverbed as part of bridge replacement project.

Today innovation, creativity and a can-do attitude continue to drive us. We strive to push the limits of science and engineering, optimize our use of advanced technology by seeking out new applications for it, and generate creative strategies and ideas in order to benefit our customers, our employees, our shareholders and the communities in which we live and work. For example, we’re helping our commercial customers build “green” buildings and enhance their energy efficiency.

Learn more about building 'green' to improve energy efficiency:
USC goes 'green'(1.6MB)

We're putting more Web capabilities – like tools to help customers monitor energy usage and estimate future bills – at their fingertips.  That’s just part of the story. 

Engineering Feat Wins Award
Technical challenges faced by SCE&G in the construction of the $275-million Saluda Dam Remediation Project in Columbia, S.C. resulted in a number of unique solutions that recently earned the company the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA). Among them: a method of expeditiously placing filter zones and the design of a cooling method to enable concrete production during extremely high temperatures.

In addition, instead of shipping in the rock needed for the project from various sources, SCE&G created a rock quarry onsite to save both time and money. To create the large volume of concrete used on the project, SCE&G utilized approximately 200 million pounds of coal ash waste from the on-site coal-fired steam plant – saving money and benefiting the environment.

To learn more about the innovations employed in constructing the dam, read the press release.

Drilling Down
In July 2001, the South Carolina Department of Transportation announced construction of a new bridge across the Cooper River between Charleston and Mount Pleasant. The new structure was to replace two existing bridges to give more clearance over the river for container ships using the Port of Charleston. SCE&G had to replace a 115-kV overhead transmission line, which was attached to one of the old bridges, with a 115-kV underground high-pressure, gas-filled pipe-type cable system that would be placed under the Cooper River.

While SCE&G didn’t intend to break any world records with the construction of the underground transmission line, the installation is believed to be the longest pipe-type cable system ever installed using an innovative drilling technology known as horizontal directional drilling (HDD). The length of the river crossing was 7,030 ft (2143 m). The coated-steel pipeline was installed 80 ft (24 m) below the surface of the river using HDD.

By using HDD, SCE&G was also able to minimize the environmental impact to the Cooper River and the wetlands area on the Mount Pleasant side of the river where the underground line passed. 

Learn more about SCE&G’s use of this innovative drilling technology:
More than one way to cross a river (1.3MB)

Automated Transmission Inspections
Inspecting SCE&G’s electric transmission line system used to be a labor-intensive process. By combining two advanced technologies, SCE&G was able to automate its process – and garner industry recognition for its innovative solution. The new transmission inspection process earned SCE&G an Industry Excellence Award from the Southeastern Electric Exchange (SEE).

Rather than manually taking notes, SCE&G inspectors now use a pen computer to collect abnormalities around transmission lines and structures. With a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver interfaced to the pen computer, an inspector’s position relative to the transmission line is known at all times. The inspector doesn’t need to know attributes of the line being inspected; all transmission line system attributes are stored in a database running on the pen computer.

Data from the pen computer can then be uploaded to a central database on the Local Area Network (LAN). Reports can be developed which indicate not only the problem with the structure but also include a map showing how to get to the structure. All actions taken to address inspection items are stored in the database for future reference.

Similar technology is being used to automate substation inspections and assessment of electric transmission line rights-of-way. Both air and ground patrols can be conducted using the system. These processes also received SEE awards in recognition of their innovative use of technology.

Armed with AMR
Increasingly, SCE&G meter readers no longer have to fear menacing dogs or equally menacing, thorny bushes that seem to find their way around the meters they’re trying to read. Thanks to a new technology known as AMR – automated meter reading – SCE&G meter readers can collect meter readings remotely, eliminating the need for them to enter customers’ property.

A laptop computer in the service truck can receive data via radio frequencies. As the meter reader drives down a street, the computer signals an encoder/receiver/transmitter (ERT) module installed on each meter to transmit a current reading. The data is stored on a disk and later uploaded to a computer server for integration with SCE&G’s customer information and billing systems.

AMR is especially useful for reading meters in remote areas; AMR units are capable of reading a meter from more than a mile away, which makes it much easier to read meters located on islands, farms and in areas infested with snakes and alligators.

SCE&G began testing mobile AMR two years ago. The technology was first put into production by SCE&G in early 2005. In 2006, SCE&G expanded use of the mobile AMR technology to electric and gas areas on a limited basis to evaluate a combination service solution. SCE&G will also test a limited scope network system, which allows on-demand reads for an office location, eliminating the need for meter readers to walk or ride by to obtain readings.

Learn more about SCE&G's use of AMR:
The water is wide (1.6MB)

Service Goes Wireless
In recent years when storms – including hurricanes -- have knocked out power, SCE&G crews have been able to keep the lines of communication open thanks to wireless technology. Now the technology, along with mobile data, is enabling SCE&G and PSNC Energy technicians to spend more time in the field and less time manually receiving orders and dropping off paperwork.

Using computer-aided dispatch (CAD), SCE&G and PSNC Energy can distribute work orders wirelessly to field technicians in the appropriate geographic location so they don’t have to drive into the office at the beginning of the day to receive a paper order. Service order revisions are also wirelessly transferred to technicians, eliminating errors and reducing voice traffic over the radio system. Order updates are transferred in near real-time, so technicians are saved needless trips to customer sites in cases of cancelled or changed customer orders.

Service turnaround time is shortened as well because technicians can enter orders directly into the system while in the field. For example, if a technician is sent to a customer site to investigate a potentially faulty meter and determines that the meter needs to be replaced, a meter change order can be issued and the order completed without returning to the office. As a result, the order does not linger in the system, technicians’ time is used effectively, and customers are served quickly.

Wireless technology also enables technicians to access job-critical single line drawings and switching diagrams that used to be available only in hard copy. Agents investigating potential energy thefts are able to access their orders and remit investigation reports with the same speed and efficiency available to technicians. On the customer side, wireless technology is proving just as beneficial. SCE&G customers can access the company’s website via a wireless connection to report power outages.

Recycle
SCANA is always looking for new ways to save energy and protect the environment, especially in the area of recycling. Steel, copper, brass, coal ash, lamps, batteries, paper, wood chips, aluminum cans, toner cartridges, wood reels and pallets – you name it, a SCANA company probably recycles it.

For example, SCE&G recycles more than 75% of the coal ash produced by its power-generating plants and has identified several innovative ways to use it. Rather than filling up millions of cubic yards of landfill space, the coal ash is being used with a cement and sand mixture for road repairs, in cement and ready-mix concrete, as filler in paints and plastics, and as structural fills for highway embankments, ramps and bridges.



SCANA Corporation, SCANA Energy, and SCE&G ("Affiliates") are not the same company as PSNC Energy, and have separate management and separate employees. Affiliates are not regulated by the North Carolina Utilities Commission or in any way sanctioned by the Commission. There is no advantage to customers of PSNC Energy if they buy products or services from Affiliates. A customer does not have to buy products or services from Affiliates in order to continue to receive the same safe and reliable natural gas service from PSNC Energy.