Making electric power safer, more reliable, and more economical is our fundamental purpose.
As a leader in the power protection industry, SEL creates products and complete solutions that minimize blackouts and electrical system damage. Our digital protective relays respond to system faults, such as downed power lines caused by accidents or harsh weather, within milliseconds. SEL equipment serves thousands of utilities and, in turn, millions of their customers, by contributing to safer operations and minimizing outages and damage caused by faults.
Innovative SEL communications technology enables customers to use the information in SEL and other substation products to monitor, control, and automate the operation of power systems. SEL systems perform simple, inexpensive, and continuous monitoring of protection and automation information. Fault records and location, metering, status, and diagnostic equipment data are stored and reported. Information is used in substations, sent to control center applications, and made available for utility or third-party expert analysis.
SEL also designs complete modular control enclosures for substations, provides engineering services, and serves the advanced training needs of industry professionals through SEL University. Courses emphasize the practical application of power system protection theory, concepts, and technology.
SEL was founded in Pullman, Washington in 1982 when Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III invented and marketed the first all-digital protective relay, reducing the cost and complexity of power protection and revolutionizing the industry. Schweitzer created the relay as a Ph.D. project while at Washington State University.
The company shipped its first products to Otter Tail Power Company in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, in 1984. In 1985, SEL constructed its first building and employed eleven people. The company continues to grow and today provides products and services in 144 countries and to the following industries:
- All U.S. and many global electrical utilities
- Government and military installations
- Heavy industries including petrochemical plants, pulp and paper and mining operations, and pharmaceutical companies
- Power generation such as hydroelectric, coal, gas, geothermal, nuclear, wind, solar, and other energy sources
- Commercial operations such as hotels and shopping centers
SEL serves the electric power industry from its Pullman headquarters, where the company owns 130 acres, with 11 buildings on the site, including an event center and more than 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The company also has 57 additional domestic offices and 45 international locations in:
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
As a result, SEL offers unprecedented application assistance and customer support. The company employs over 3,600 people worldwide.
SEL Fault Indicator and Sensor Division, a division of SEL in Lake Zurich, Illinois, is the electric power industry’s market leader in fault indicator technology. SEL recently opened a campus in Parque Logistico Industrial Park in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The SLP facility specializes in panels, integrated systems, modulated control houses, and solutions that serve the worldwide market.
In 2011, SEL continued to grow with construction of a 105,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Lewiston, Idaho, a 90,000 square foot Solution Delivery Center in Pullman, and a 70,000 square foot expansion of SLP manufacturing in Mexico.
SEL continues to develop its spectrum of products and activities to include modeling power systems, analyzing events, planning upgrades, providing equipment, designing and delivering turnkey systems, securing communications, and finding new solutions for complex problems in the electric power industry.