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Dotting and Crossing

Finding our way in the World of IoT

20 A Segment of One
24 Cozying up to Customers

26 Testing in the Digital Substation


1708pg_C1 1 8/3/17 5:12 PM

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be stabilized for the long term. We look forward to working with
you to help shape the backbone of future energy systems.

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AUGUST 2017 VOLUME 22.08

18 The Potential Benefits of Community Energy

There is growing recognition from U.S. and European citizens that
community energy schemes are economically viable.
The FYI on IoT By Craig Cavanaugh, Omnetric Group

20 A Segment of One
Ruling the Smart City World 10 Whether a utility is in a competitive market or a regulated market,
Quiet Conway, Arkansas, might not be the its relationship with each of its customers is increasingly vital to its
biggest city in the technology world, but it future success.
By David DeMaio, Oracle Utilities
embraced smart-city opportunities, developed
a Digital Nervous System and more.
By Michael Wiebe, MW Consulting 24 Cozying up to Customers
The 100-year-old you pay the bill and we keep the power on
Paying Attention to the Signs 13 relationship dynamic between utility companies and consumers no
longer works well.
Nowadays, AMI is positioned as a foundation
for technology to evolve to multiservice
By Mark Konya and Mike Smith, SAS
networks with a multiplicity of applications
that support city infrastructures. 26 Testing in the Digital Substation
By Tony Bogovic, Vencore Labs The widespread implementation of IEC 61850-based substation
protection and the increased interest in digitalization provides an
opportunity to develop and implement protection, automation and
Keys to Starting Your IoT Journey 15 control that can be tested remotely.
When deploying smart applications, its By Alexander Apostolov, Omicrone
important to note that the goals of
municipalities and utilities often overlap.
By Charles Nobles, Sensus 29 Backing up Substations with Batteries
By adopting a battery technology that is compatible with digital
control and communication, operators can better integrate their
essential backup.
From the Editor 2 By Mohamed Fourati, Saft
Notes 4
Products 34 31 Overcoming Challenges on HV Switchgear
Electrical contractors, who often work with high-voltage
Calendar/Ad Index 35 switchgear, face responsibilities and key challenges when
Parting Thoughts 36 conducting transformer work.
By Richard Smith, Smith Brothers

PowerGrid International (ISSN 1547-6723). of back issues are also available on microfilm International is a registered trademark. er list available to carefully screened compa-
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August 2017 | 1

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I recently attended several conferences, including one in Germany, covering the Richard Baker
same common theme: the shift from central station generation to distributed genera-
tion is happening quickly and its disruptive. Teresa Hansen
Germany, which several years ago committed to promoting renewable energy and
eliminating nuclear and coal-fired power, is transitioning quicker than most. Theres SENIOR EDITOR
Rod Walton
debate about how much this transition has cost, but theres little, if any, argument about 918.831.9177
the need to green electricity supply. Most Europeans (not just Germans) are onboard.
Few U.S. states are moving quicker than Germany, but some are moving fast, includ- Jeff Postelwait
ing California, which often sets the trends for the rest of the country.
In 2007, Californias Public Utility Commission authorized its first Community CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
TransmissionHub Senior Analyst Corina Rivera-Linares
Choice Aggregation (CCA) applications. A UCLA press release describes a CCA as a
utility that provides cities and counties the opportunity to choose the type of energy DESIGNER II
Heather Skeith
that fits their needs. They allow cities and counties to group individual customers 918.831.9176

purchasing power within a defined jurisdiction to buy energy. California law defines SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT-AUDIENCE
CCAs as electric service providers. They compete with investor-owned utilities and a June Griffin
main objective is to reduce CO2 by offering clean energy.
Today, 10 years after their creation, eight CCAs have been established in California Linda Thomas
and more than a dozen others are in the works.
A new report, released in July by the Center for Climate Protection, explains that AD SERVICES COORDINATOR
Cary Shipley
private utility load forecasts and the corresponding procurement decisions under- 918.831.9438
estimated the number of customers leaving private utilities for CCAs, creating an
over-procurement of power by private utilities. Sara Jones
A February 2017 Los Angeles Times investigation predicted that traditional
California utilities have contracted to purchase 21 percent more electricity than theyll
need in 2020less than three years from now. The Center for Climate Protection
report backs up the Times with its own predictionby 2020, Californias CCAs will PENNWELL CORPORATION
1421 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK 74112
provide 116,229 GWh of electricity generation sales and its IOUs only 84,967 GWh. PO Box 1260, Tulsa OK 74101
Phone 918.835.3161 Fax 918.831.9834
Another study released on July 26 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA)
reveals that U.S. residential electricity sales declined 9 percent between 2010 and
2016. Weather is a key driver of year-over-year fluctuations, however, the report says PENNWELL CORP. IN EUROPE
PennWell International Limited
energy efficiency improvements and economic factors were a bigger contributor to the The Water Tower, Gunpowder Mill
Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 1BN, United Kingdom
decline in per capita residential electricity sales. In addition, EIA said it has no way phone +44.1992.656600
fax +44.1992.656700
of knowing how much residential load is now being provided by small-scale solar PV.
These reports not only illustrate utilities need to drastically revamp their traditional busi-
CHAIRMAN Robert F. Biolchini
ness models to offer customers more than just kilowatt-hours, they uncover a problem some
VICE CHAIRMAN Frank T. Lauinger
utilities will face when they must make good on their purchase agreements, even though PRESIDENT AND CHIEF
theyll have no buyers for all the electricity. In addition, because most CCA electricity
comes from distributed renewable generation, grid owners and operators must make the DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGY Jayne A. Gilsinger
technology strides necessary to integrate even more intermittent distributed generation. CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Brian Conway
I understand things are changing fast. Reports like these, however, stun me. My job
is to provide the best information available to help you with your much harder role of P.O. Box 47570, Plymouth, MN 55447
Phone 1-800-869-6882
ensuring your companies survive and thrive in the new energy world that is ahead. I
assure you, Im working hard at it. POWERGRID International is the
official publication of
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AEP Texas map of Project
American Electric Powers
unit AEP Texas Inc., in an
application received by the
Public Utility Commission
(PUC) of Texas, proposes
to build a new 138-kV
transmission line from the
AEP Texas Solstice substa-
tion to the Roserock point
of interconnection (POI)
in Pecos County, Texas.
The project would pro-
vide service for the new
RE Roserock LLC solar
farm, which will have an
output capacity of 157.5
MW net at the POI,
the company said in its
application to amend its
certificate of convenience
and necessity. AEP Texas added that the approved by the PUC and would inter- the company said. The area lies within
purpose of the transmission project is connect into the Roserock solar farm the Southern High Plains physiographic
to provide a permanent interconnection 138-kV hard tap transmission line, the region of Texas, which forms flat plains
for the solar farm to the transmission company said. The point of interconnec- with many playas and local dune fields
network. tion to the Roserock solar farm from the and is primarily rural and undeveloped
The AEP Texas Solstice substation is 138-kV transmission temporary hard tap open shrubland, the company noted.
under construction for other additional line would be at a dead-end structure According to the estimated schedule,
needs in the area, and is located just north and would be located at one of two loca- right of way and land acquisition, as
of Interstate Highway 10 (I-10) and just tions, the company noted. well as engineering and design, would
east of the existing AEP Texas Barrilla The length of the proposed line route begin in July 2018, and be completed in
Junction substation, the company said. would be between 4.44 miles and 5.07 January 2019. Material and equipment
Until that transmission line is built miles, depending on the route selected procurement would also begin in July
to directly feed the Roserock solar farm by the PUC, the company said. The proj- 2018, and be completed in February
into the AEP Texas Solstice substation, ect would be built using single-pole steel 2019, while construction of the facilities
the Roserock solar farm will directly structures, typically between 80 feet and would begin in February 2019, and be
interconnect temporarily as a hard tap 100 feet high. completed in August 2019, which is
into the existing AEP Texas Barrilla to Ft. The area traversed by the line is when the facilities would be energized,
Stockton 138-kV transmission line. located about 26.5 miles directly west according to the schedule.
The proposed Roserock POI location of the City of Fort Stockton in Pecos The route has an estimated cost of
would be dependent on which route is County, and borders I-10 to the north, about $6.1 million, according to reports.

4 | August 2017

1708pg_4 4 8/3/17 5:03 PM



The ship has come in for the Bay State Rounding out the top 11 ranked by rate structures for EV ownerspeak
when it comes to energy efficiency efforts ACEEE were Pacific Gas & Electric, demand pricing, time of use and general
by utilities, according to a recent nation- Baltimore Gas & Electric, Eversource residential rates.
wide report. Connecticut, Southern California
The American Council for an Energy Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric,
Efficient Economys (ACEEEs) first-ever Commonwealth Edison, Portland
Utility Scorecard has the Massachusetts General Electric and the Xcel Energy
wings of two utilitiesEversource units in Colorado and Minnesota.
Energy and National Gridtied for first Baltimore Gas & Electric (now owned
place. The ACEEE report ranked 51 by Exelon) achieved a reported best
utilities nationwide for their variety and peak demand savings of 2.54 percent.
impact of energy efficiency programs. Relf credited the home state Empower
Massachusetts has aggressively sought Maryland Smart Energy Savers program
advanced energy reduction and budgeted with helping make possible the energy
more than $500 million annually on mea- efficiency successes by BG&E.
sures to achieve those goals, according to Southern California Edison also was They had 456 subscribers to their
reports. In fact, nine of the utilities are in lauded for trying new things, includ- time-of-use rates, much higher than a
states that finished in the top 10 of ACEEEs ing 12 different pilot projects in 2015. lot of utilities included in the scorecard,
earlier state energy efficiency scorecard. Xcel Minnesota drove to the front of Relf said. And this indicates to me that
This really highlights the importance of the ACEEEs ratings on electric vehicle their extensive education on website may
state and regulatory support for efficiency, integration because it offered extensive encourage customers to take advantage
said Grace Relf, lead author on the report. educational material and three different of that rate option.



Energy industry sector giants AES Energy Management Division, said in a Gluski said in the release. This will
Corp. and Siemens AG have decided that statement. accelerate the integration of renewables
one is better than two when it comes to Fluence will fill this major gap in the into the energy network of tomorrow.
energy storage solutions. The two com- market, Christian added.
panies are creating a global joint venture AES Advancion Platform, meanwhile,
company called Fluence. It will operate has deployed more than 200 MW of
independently of its two parent firms energy storage in seven countries. Its
and focus on delivering the respective collaboration with Indianapolis Power &
Advancion and Siestorage platforms to Light in 2016 was named POWERGRID
more than 160 countries. Internationals Project of the Year for grid Together, AES Energy Storage subsid-
As the energy storage market optimization. iary and Siemens Energy Management
expands, customers face the challenge Partnering with Siemens to form have deployed or been awarded 48 proj-
of finding a trusted technology part- Fluence will offer both large and small ects totaling 463 MW of battery-based
ner with an appropriate portfolio and customers the full gamut of proven, energy storage across 13 nations. One of
a profound knowledge of the power state-of-the-art energy storage solutions those is the worlds largest lithium-ion
sector, Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens in over 160 countries, AES CEO Andrs project near San Diego.

August 2017 | 5

1708pg_5 5 8/3/17 5:03 PM


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers It is extremely disappointing that the to reduce impacts on views and the envi-
has granted Dominion Energy a final Army Corps has agreed to let this destructive ronment. The area also has views of a theme
permit to proceed with a towering power project move forward. These transmission park, a sewage plant, condominiums and
transmission line above the James River
in Virginia. Project opponents say it will
blight the views in one of the countrys
most historic areas.
The utility has said its Surry-Skiffes
Creek transmission line near Jamestown
James River
is urgently needed to provide reliable
electric service to Virginias peninsula towers, many the size of the Statue of Liberty, other commercial facilities, she said.
region, where two coal-fired power units would deface a landscape that has stood for Dominion also pledged about $90
were recently retired. The project, already 400 years, Theresa Pierno, president and million in mitigation measures, includ-
approved by state regulators, will include CEO of the National Parks Conservation ing land conservation, shoreline pro-
a 500-kV portion that will cross about 4 Association, said in a statement. tection and environmental initiatives
miles of the James River lofted by 17 tow- The conservation association is among in an agreement reached with the state,
ers, some rising as high as 295 feet. numerous other preservation and envi- the Army Corps and the Advisory
The line will traverse the James within ronmental groups that oppose the project. Council on Historic Preservation.
Virginias Historic Triangle, a concentra- We will continue to fight to protect historic The Army Corps sign-off means the
tion of attractions that date to the nations Jamestown and are considering all options, only outstanding regulatory hurdle for the
founding. Besides Jamestown, founded including legal action, Pierno said. project is a county-level special use permit
in 1607, the region includes Colonial Company spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson for a switching station.
Williamsburg, Yorktown and Carters said Dominion carefully considered The project is expected to take 18 to 20
Grove, a Colonial-era plantation. where the line would cross the James River months to complete.


Xcel Energy has proposed a pilot pro- June 30 with the Minnesota Public finding ways to reduce their energy usage,
gram giving low-income Minnesota cus- Utilities Commission. Xcel Energy said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-
tomers more access to renewable energy. will also seek approval to expand the Minnesota. This program has great poten-
In what Xcel called a first of its programs offerings to help residents tial to save energy and increase renewable
kind program, the utility will partner in this community save energy and energy for this community and beyond.
with Energy CENTS Coalition to help lower their energy bills. Energy CENTS Coalition and its commu-
residents in St. Pauls Railroad Island Were excited to work with Energy nity partner, Daytons Bluff Neighborhood
community subscribe to a local com- CENTS Coalition and roll out a locally Housing Services, will work with Xcel
munity solar garden. The proposal for driven, grass roots project that gives the Energy on the project. Xcel Energy also
the community solar garden was filed community access to solar energy while CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

6 | August 2017

1708pg_6 6 8/3/17 5:03 PM



Mankind may hold dominion over all creatures great and
smallor so he and she thinksbut sometimes the critters
take their crack inside the comfort zone.
Two stories recently show how animals invaded power sys-
tems to cause outages in the U.S. and Africa. A snake slipped
into a substation to cut service to Duke Energy customers in
South Carolina, while a baboon knocked out power to a town
in Zambia.
The baboon interfered with machinery at a power station
in a tourist town near Victoria Falls, knocking out power to
tens of thousands of people for several hours. State broadcaster
ZNBC said the blackout affected residents in Livingstone and
surrounding areas and reports that it was caused by an accident
involving a curious animal.
ZNBC quotes power utility spokesman Henry Kapata
as saying the baboon survived an electric shock and was
handed over to wildlife offi-
cials for care.
People on social media joked
about possible sabotage by the
baboon, recalling that President
Edgar Lungu has announced
extra police powers to deal with
alleged security challenges amid
increasing political tension.
One Twitter user says the
baboon is not believed to be
politically inclined.
Meanwhile, the Associated
Press also quoted utility officials saying a snake caused a power
outage that left more than 4,000 customers without electricity in
Greenville County, South Carolina.
Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier told media outlets
a snake crawled into a substation, disrupted service and
left Greenville County residents in the dark for about 90
Mosier says the utility constantly works to improve its
barriers to prevent snakes, squirrels and birds from crawling
into the electrical equipment at substations and causing out-
ages. He said, however, its not uncommon, especially this
time of year. Mosier said small animals remain a big reason
for power outages.

August 2017 | 7 Go to for more information.

1708pg_7 7 8/3/17 5:03 PM




Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is eliminat- operations and transmission planning. I 10 years ago as part of a FERC-approved
ing its role as a regional enforcer of grid rules believe this is in the long-term best inter- agreement between SPP and NERC. The RE
to focus purely as a regional transmission est of SPP and our members, SPP CEO covered all or part of Arkansas, Oklahoma,
organization involved in reliability coordina- Nick Brown said in a statement. Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,
tion, market operations and planning. The North American Electric Reliability New Mexico and Texas.
Bowing to a nationwide movement Corp. (NERC) and Federal Energy SPPs dual mandate, however, is a dying
among U.S. grid organizations, SPP is dis- Regulatory Commission (FERC) must breed, the last from that time to operate both
solving its SPP Regional Entity (RE) by the approve the termination of the SPP RE. as an RTO and RE. The Florida Reliability
end of next year. In the meantime, the SPP NERC already has given its encourage- Coordinating Council is the only registered
Regional Transmission Authority (RTO) has ment for the move. entity handling such enforcement duties.
expanded its oversight from eight to 14 cen- Once formally approved, all sides must SPP was founded in 1941 when 11
tral and southwest states in the past decade. smoothly transition those enforcement regional power companies pooled their
Given that the footprints of the SPP duties over 120 electric utilities to anoth- resources to keep Arkansas Jones Mill
RTO and SPP RE no longer aligndue to er compliance authority. powered around the clock in support

our significant growth over the last decade SPP pledged to keep the REs 24 of critical, national defense needs. It
and in light of further potential expansion employees in the 605-person workforce. now oversees power supply, transmission
opportunities to the west. . . (the orga- The RE will keep its oversight function infrastructure and competitive wholesale
nizations leadership) made the strategic until a transition is completed by no later electricity prices for a 546,000-square-
decision to focus on our core functions of than Dec. 31, 2018. mile region including more than 60,000
reliability coordination, wholesale market The regional enforcement entity was created miles of high-voltage transmission lines.


will work with Thor Construction to Building the community solar gar- where experts identify and install low-
develop a 0.5 MW community solar gar- den will be the first step in offering cost efficiency measures and provide
den for the Railroad Island community. Railroad Island residents a complete energy conservation tips. Pending
Through this program, subscriptions solution to help with their energy bills. approvals, this program is expected to
will be available without a long-term Xcel Energy will also be working with launch in 2018.
commitment or a check of a subscrib- the community through the companys Railroad Island, a community of about
ers credit score, which are common Partners in Energy offering to promote 2,200 people, was selected because many
requirements for most community solar access to the community solar garden customers qualify for low income home
gardens in Minnesota. In addition, sub- and energy conservation. energy assistance programs, live in older
scribers would not be responsible for any Elements of this part of the pro- homes that use more energy and experi-
up-front payments and can terminate the gram will include a free Home Energy ence a spike in electrical usage during the
contract at any time. Squad visit for low income customers winter months.

8 | August 2017

1708pg_8 8 8/3/17 5:03 PM

Blackouts Lasting more than 24 Hours hit Gaza last Month

The electricity supply to Gazas 2 million residents has dropped Several neighborhoods were without electricity for more than
to unprecedented lows, with blackouts lasting for more than 24 24 hours on July 13.
hours, the territorys power distribution company said, prompt- Diesel fuel from neighboring Egypt had kept the station run-
ing fears of a humanitarian and environmental crisis. ning at half capacity since June 21, but deliveries
The Palestinian enclave needs at least 400 megawatts of were interrupted after a deadly attack on Egyptian
power a day, but only 70 megawatts were available as of late soldiers (the week of July 3) near the border. Gazas
Wednesday, July 12, when Gazas power plant shut down after power station has low storage capacity, and requires
fuel shipments from Egypt were interrupted following a militant new fuel shipments on an almost daily basis.
attack a week earlier. Abbas has tried to squeeze Hamas financially
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said the in recent months, hoping to force it to cede power.
power cuts have caused a rapid deterioration in basic services, He slashed salaries of his employees there, stopped
especially health and environmental services, including water payments for ex-prisoners and reinstated heavy
and sewage draining. taxes on the power plants fuel.
The coastal strip had already been experiencing the worst Palestinians have been split since 2007, with AP Photo credit

electricity shortage in years, limiting Gazans to about four hours Hamas ruling Gaza and Abbas governing parts of the West
of electricity per day. Bank. Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently asked Israel, The Egyptian diesel shipments were facilitated by Mohammed
the main provider of power to Gaza, to cut shipments as a way Dahlan, a former leading figure in Abbas Fatah movement who fell
of pressuring the Islamic militant group Hamas, which seized out with the Palestinian president in 2010, went into exile and has
power in Gaza a decade ago. since forged strong ties with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Electrify Europe will Charge into Vienna in 2018


POWER-GEN Europe marked its 25th anniversary by opening a transmission and distribution businessesElectrify Europe will
new chapter in the history of European energy industry trade shows. attract key economic sectors in the energy space.
The shows owner, Pennwell Corp., unveiled Electrify Europe, Fundamental change is taking place in Europe in how
the worlds first event dedicated to the convergence in the electricity will be generated, delivered and consumed, Ensor
power generation and transmission and distribution sectors. added. Essential new relationships with heating, cooling and
Embracing the new pillars of the 21st century energy sys- transportation are being forged. Digital technology is enabling
temdigitization, decentralization, electrification and customer this change by empowering consumers, delivering sustainability
engagementthe conference and exhibition will be held June and ushering in new participants to
19-21, 2018, at the Messe Wien in Vienna. provide innovative energy services. This
Glenn Ensor, managing director of Pennwells International is disruptive change, and while it will
Division, said the new show was responding to a dramatic shift bring about some uncertainty, it also
in the European power market. creates exciting opportunities for the
Electrify Europe is an entirely new concept designed to fos- smartest and best prepared.
ter information exchange between established and new players Featuring a multi-track conference
for the creation of advanced solutions across an entire electricity and simultaneous exhibition, Electrify
value network that has the customer as its focus, Ensor said. Europe will meet a genuine market
Inspiring thought leadership, collaboration and innovation, need for a platform that provides clar-
Electrify Europe unites every aspect of the European market to ity, facilitates connections, and drives
Viennas Mess Wien center
transform the future of electricity. the industry forward. With more than 12,000 attendees and 450
Representing an evolution built on 25 years of Pennwells exhibitors expected, Electrify Europe will offer the continents
POWER-GEN Europe Conference and Exhibition and incorporat- largest hub for information, networking and lead generation.
ing DistribuTECHNorth Americas leading event for utilities For further information, visit

August 2017 | 9

1708pg_9 9 8/3/17 5:03 PM


You Dont Have to be

to Rule the (Smart City) World
Arkansas Community Declares Itself Smartest City in the World
C onway Corp. (Conway, Arkansas) is a leader in
adopting innovative technologies and processes to
enhance the value of the services it provides to its local
In 1980, keeping pace with Conways
growth, Conway Corp. purchased a 2-per-
cent interest in two coal-fired, steam-gen-
community. The company operates the city-owned utility erating plants and completed construction
system and provides electric, water, wastewater, cable, on the city-owned cable system. In 1995,
internet, telephone and security services for the nearly the company spent about $5.6 million to
65,000 residents of the Conway community. It recently rebuild its hybrid-fiber-coax infrastruc-
unveiled details of its citywide advanced meter and street- ture, making way for the 1997 launch of
light upgrade program. The municipal utilitys 1 gigabit cable internet service. The launch made
broadband Digital Nervous System (DNS), which it it the third company in the country and
added to its customer offerings in 2016, was the perfect fifth in North America to offer high-
foundation to extend the digital meter infrastructure to speed, broadband cable internet ser-
the field. vice. In December 2016, the com-
Conway Corp. was incorporated in 1929 and soon pany launched a 1 gigabit internet
after that began operating the city electric plant. t. offering for residential customers
Shortly after incorporation, it took over the city ys citywide.
water system and then in 1957 its wastewater plants. nts. In May, Conway Corp. unveiled

Photo courtesy Conway Area Chamber of Commerce

10 | August 2017

1708pg_10 10 8/4/17 1:12 PM

details of its citywide advanced meter optimize its infrastructure and resource business cases were developed for each
upgrade project. In addition to the instal- planning and provide future enhanced business line. They were then consolidat-
lation of advanced metering infrastruc- services to our customers. ed to represent total benefits.
ture (AMI) for electric and water meters, The knowledge gained during Conway During this process, the Internet of
the company will install advanced tech- Corp.s DNS architecture and program Things (IoT) paradigm was mentioned
nology street light controls. The tech- development and launch would be an only modestly and occasionally. Within a
nology solution will include a two-way asset during the buildout of the advanced matter of months, however, IoT became
mesh radio network, enhanced elec- meter and streetlight upgrade program, one of the hottest topics published and
tric meters, water meter communication however, the company felt it needed a suppliers began fine tuning their mar-
modules and a meter data management consulting partner to assist with project keting messaging around products being
system. planning and implementation. Through a developed to support IoT.
The advanced metering technology request for qualifications (RFQ) process, Conway Corp. sought to understand
and streetlight controls, coupled with its Conway Corp. selected MW Consulting whether the IoT concept created value
existing hybrid-fiber-coax network, pegs to be its partner on the project. for this project. The company wanted to
Conway as the smartest city in the world, MW Consulting helped Conway Corp. know if and how IoT related to Conways
per Conway Corp.s recent press release. create a smart utility vision, strategy and consumers, businesses and associated
This project provides a continued business case using a series of workshops city operations.
vision to enhance operational excel- and follow-up activities. A template model With our new systems multi-technol-
lence and customer service through an of benefit and cost insights from prior ogy flexibility and an open IPv6 capa-
advanced metering solution, Conway projects was used to document a business ble and standards compliant network,
Corp. CEO Bret Carroll said in the press case looking at cost, benefit and risk. To Conway will be able to integrate with
release Once fully deployed and in addi- ensure precision and a full understanding third-party technologies to expand the
tion to the obvious immediate benefits, of the value of electric and water upgrades benefits over time as needed.
Conway Corp. will use the platform to as well as smart streetlighting, standalone Conway already has a 1 gigabyte per
second hybrid fiber-coax cable system
Senior Meterman Preston Glover stands in front of some of Conway Corp.s smart meters. Courtesy Conway Corp.
used to provide voice, video and data
services in the city of Conway. We will
soon be positioned to look into the
projects next phase where we want to
explore the ability to leverage this infra-
structure in the delivery of electricity,
water and streetlighting services to our
customers, said Carroll.
The company and its partner MW
Consulting concluded its metering and
streetlight upgrade should be viewed as
an extension of its DNS architecture to
create a connected field area comprised
of many thousands of electric, water and
streetlight endpoints.

The business cases included the follow-

ing expected and unexpected benefits:
a. Meter Reading and Billing Improving
meter reading and billing performance

August 2017 | 11

1708pg_11 11 8/4/17 1:12 PM

reduces customer complaints and
inquiries, staff time spent address-
ing exceptions and the need to dis-
patch field crews to obtain validation
readings. The use of a disconnect/
reconnect switch for single phase
electric meters significantly reduces
the required truck rolls to support
customer move-ins and move-outs
and credit related transactions. This
feature is significant because Conway
is home to three colleges with com-
Photo courtesy Conway Area Chamber of Commerce
bined student enrollment of more
than 16,000 students. smart streetlighting, and could document Corp. with the foundation to optimize
operational benefits in addition to energy its operations and enhance customer
b. Water Leak Detection Better leak savings by converting to LED luminaires. service. In addition, becoming a smart
detection improves repair and min- Once the benefits and business cases IoT city is important to the community
imizes revenue loss by reducing were identified, the next step was the and its important to Conway Corp. that
operating costs for water plants and request for proposal (RFP) process to it be seen as a technology leader. This
improving water conservation. select a vendor. Each suppliers solu- project is, therefore, an important one.
tions were viewed in terms of network, The company believes an IoT powered
c. Electric Outage and Restoration endpoints, IT/OT and services that met city can help the community retain busi-
Better outage Identification and assess- vision strategy and business case goals. nesses, attract new ones and increase job
ment allows faster and more efficient Landis+Gyr was selected as the solu- satisfaction for employees.
response, which in turn reduces outage tion partner. Conway Corp. is deploy- We are excited to have this project
durations and the cost to respond. ing an RF mesh network that connects underway and are thankful to be working
electric and water meters, as well as with MW Consulting and Landis+Gyr to
d. Tamper and Theft Detection streetlight controls. These will be used help us accomplish our goals, Carroll
Identifying theft or tampering situa- in conjunction with Conway Corp.s LED said. We believe Conway, Conway Corp.
tions or both, reduces non-technical streetlight upgrade program. and our customers will benefit for years
losses and increases revenue. With the data available from the new to come.
endpoints, Conway Corp.s technology
e. Unauthorized Use Identifying department is working on new custom- Michael Wiebe is presi-
unauthorized use of services with er applications that will use the knowl- dent of MW Consulting and
author of A Guide to Utility
alarms and alerts prevents unbilled edge gained from this additional data.
Automation. Since 1996,
usage and identifies unauthorized The company is designing business
MW Consulting has created
diversion of electric power, again processes to detect usage patterns that value for utilities by helping
reducing non-technical losses and suggest potential water leaks and back- them excel in enhancing operational, financial,
increasing revenue. flow conditions. The new volumes of environmental, and customer programs. Wiebe
leads the companys team that includes:profes-
endpoint information such as usage,
sional engineers and ex-utility managers with
f. Meter Maintenance Utilizing data demand, voltage and outage data will
expertise in customer service, IT, OT, networks
monitoring capabilities to detect and be used to feed engineering system and security. MW Consulting has supported
respond to malfunctioning or failed models for more accurate analysis and utilities in 15 countries,creating industry-leading
meters quicker minimizes technical losses. prediction results. visions and projects. For more information, visit or contact Wiebe
Landis+Gyrs Gridstream AMI solution
at 404-915-4991 or mwiebe@mwconsulting-
The company also found the value of is being implemented to provide Conway

12 | August 2017

1708pg_12 12 8/3/17 5:03 PM

Stay Ahead

deck Pay

to the Signs
Situational Awareness is key to
Operating the Emerging Smart City Infrastructure

U tilities at the forefront of advanced

technology are moving beyond the
smart grid to a more advanced connect-
and the communication between the util-
ities and the customer. Nowadays, AMI
is positioned as a foundation for technol-
gain a better understanding of the net-
works health to keep devices connected
and private information secure.
ed infrastructure, as smart city initiatives ogy to evolve to multiservice networks As smart city infrastructure continues
are becoming the norm for cities around with a multiplicity of applications that to evolve and grow, continuous monitor-
the world. From city infrastructure to the support city infrastructures. ing of IoT health and security is needed
grid, internet-connected devices are now an These multiservice networks and to ensure visibility and situational aware-
important part of communities. With such a applications include smart meters, smart ness of the networks. If one device expe-
wide range of use for these Internet of Things streetlights, urban sensors, tolling, intelli- riences an outage or cyber-attack, then
(IoT) devices, it is the utility grid operators, gent vehicles and moreall applications the all network devices could be at risk.
city officials and ultimately citizens them- used daily. For cities to understand the
selves who rely on this technology. need and business value of smart devices, SMART CITY INFRASTRUCTURE
The utilities-driven advanced metering utility IT and OT teams must know what EVOLUTION
infrastructure (AMI) technology was one is on the network and be able to identify, From public transportation that relies
of the first steps to a connected city. It analyze and respond to any anomalous on the smart grid to move from loca-
was created by smart electric, gas and events detected. With the ability to mon- tion to location to streetlights turning
water meters connected to the smart grid itor in real-time, utilities and cities can on at dusk, everyday events and their

August 2017 | 13

1708pg_13 13 8/3/17 5:03 PM

supporting devices are connected to the attack surface grows. Every new device that are continuously monitored
network. Intelligent technology to support and connection represents a potential tend to be more secure than those
city infrastructure is not new. What started as vulnerability, making real-time network that are not.
AMI networks to support utilities has led to a monitoring increasingly important.
range of IoT devices that connect to the smart Real-time monitoring of the grid and all
grid and support a range of city services. IMPORTANCE OF MONITORING connected devices can guard data integri-
What makes smart city devices unique Grid operators can create significant ty, while also protecting citizens personal
is their ability to send small amounts of benefits with real-time grid and IoT information. This activity ensures, for
data over long distancesacross networks device monitoring and actionable intel- example, that sensitive credit card data
of cities, counties and municipalities of all ligence. Detection, analysis and
an response from smart parking meters is secure,
sizes. The devices s low-power consump-
tion enables them to produce the requisite
These multiservice networks and applications
amount of data to keep the network
running, while also lso sending and receiv-
include smart meters, smart streetlights,
ing data payloads ds at the same time. A urban sensors, tolling, intelligent vehicles
plethora of differentent devices and sensors and moreall applications used daily.
are connected to the smart city infrastruc-
ture. Because these se devices are relatively to both operational and cybersecurity
cyb while electricity around the city remains
inexpensive to implement,
mplement, theyve been anomalies can mitigate or even
eve prevent on. Without monitoring, cyberattacks
deployed in largee numbers. When con- problems. The benefits of continuous
c against utilities technology could lead to
nected to the grid, rid, these devices allow monitoring span across operat
operations, trou- much more than a power outage. It could
quick decisions too be made based solely bleshooting and security, and iinclude: lead to hackers taking control of the grid
on data. Improved awareness: With con- and causing critical infrastructure failure.
Even though devices collectively pro- tinuous monitoring, grid operators With proper monitoring and analysis,
duce high volumes of data onto the can achieve visibility over the net- grid controllers can ensure the right data
network, only a small percentage of the work, ensuring they know whats is encrypted to ensure security. This not
data reaches the backend systems in the happening at all times and gaining only increases the network protection,
operations center, including local data independent ground truth, which it improves overall network operations.
centers. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of the leads to quicker troubleshooting of Monitoring also allows each device
pertinent data stays within the mesh net- network problems. connected to the grid to be measured
work. With such a high volume of data Enhanced optimization: In support for effectiveness. If one device is under-
remaining on the network and out of the of an expanding set of utility/city performing and hurting the network, or
data center, monitoring is the only true services, monitoring and making even if a device is helping the network,
way to analyze the data from each device. the appropriate network/IoT adjust- monitoring can detect and report this.
Utilities have some of the largest ments helps ensure smooth and effi- Real-time dashboards, for example, can
deployments of connected devices. As cient operations. observe unusual and recurring periods
more devices are connected, more data Quicker response time: In the of decreased field traffic due to network
is produced and collected. More data case of a cyberattack or a mal- radio frequency interference. Real-time
brings more opportunities for utilities functioning device, operators can monitoring technology can pinpoint a
and cities to gain intuitive insights. This respond more quickly to threats on malfunctioning device that is interfer-
influx of information, however, can be the networkresponding as soon ing with the networks success. Because
overwhelming for utility grid operators, as a threat is detected. most of these AMI systems operate in
and, correspondingly, more challeng- More secure networks: Because the public ISM band of 902 to 928MHz,
ing to manage and secure. This leads threats can be mitigated quickly with the particular devices impacted by this
to higher risks for cyberattacks as the continuous monitoring, networks interference can be the smart meters and

14 | August 2017

1708pg_14 14 8/3/17 5:03 PM


Key Considerations
When Starting Your IoT Journey
I n a short time, the Internet of Things
(IoT) has gone from being a blip on the
horizon to an industry game-changer, and
journey, beginning the process can seem
daunting. Which applications should
they start with? What factors should they
about how to best make this happen.
Utilities and municipalities should
understand the diverse requirements of
municipalities and utilities are rushing to get consider when looking to deploy? their constituents so they can make
in on the action. The following are some key steps certain that applications are deployed in
Realizing an opportunity to harness municipalities and utilities should con- areas where they will do the most good.
smart applications to improve the lives sider when beginning to explore an IoT The instinct may be to direct benefits to
of citizens, municipalities and utilities implementation to help start their jour- population-dense locations where they
have begun to explore investments in ney off on the right foot. will reach the most people. Yet these
technology make IoT a reality. In doing might not be the ideal areas for those
so, they have laid out visions for a con- OPEN THE LINES OF deployments for any number of reasons.
nected infrastructure to enhance safety, COMMUNICATION Think, for example, of a rural area with
communication and service in their cities First, its important to note that, when a high crime rate. Smart lighting applica-
and communities. In many cases, those deploying smart applications, the goals of tions including enhanced dimming and
who have invested in technologies like municipalities and utilities often overlap. flashing capabilities could help lower
advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) Both seek to extend advanced capabilities crime and improve community safety.
are realizing that the technology to bring to as many citizens as possible and to use Without officials asking for IoT technolo-
IoT to life has been there all along. these capabilities to meet their unique gies to be installed in their municipality, the
For those who havent begun their IoT needs. Therefore, its critical that these likelihood is that smart lighting and other
entities are in continuous communication smart applications could be deployed in
more urban or population-dense areas.

August 2017 | 15

1708pg_15 15 8/3/17 5:04 PM

Think squeaky wheel. help monitor everything from the weather that mesh systems struggle with. Finally,
Municipalities of all sizes should be and air quality to traffic. They can even flexible deployment options provide bet-
contacting their utilities regularly to make help police detect the location where gun- ter scalability than mesh, opening the
their voices heard. Likewise, utilities shots were fired. While there are myriad door for the ability to integrate new uses
should incorporate feedback from all of other potential IoT applications available and connectivity options to meet a citys
their customers, not just those in the across the power grid, lighting solutions population growth and future needs.
areas with the greatest population density. produce a fast return on investment (ROI) Taken together, the benefits offered
Regular communication between these that can help build a business case for a by point-to-multipoint, licensed com-
entities will help ensure smart city imple- full IoT rollout and future deployments. munication networks make them worth
mentations are reaching those customers consideration for any municipality or
best positioned to benefit from them. CHOOSE THE BEST utility struggling with how to deploy
COMMUNICATION NETWORK smart infrastructure.
DETERMINE THE RIGHT The right communication network is
APPLICATIONS critical to the success of a smart city imple- CONNECT THE RIGHT DEVICES
The next step is to determine which mentation. This technology has evolved in The next thing to consider is which
applications will be the first ones deployed recent years, resulting in multiple options devices to connect to the network to
in the IoT initiative. This does not have to for municipalities and utilities. Making the power the applications being deployed.
be an all-or-nothing proposition. Any new right choice is essential, and it starts with For IoT, this means any device that can
investments should first be deployed in a education to understand which network communicate with the network either
pilot with desired outcomes and a mech- will provide the greatest ROI. continually or at fixed intervals.
anism to collect data and measure the Public mesh networks are sometimes Utilities and municipalities must
pilots success. With that data in hand, the considered the answer, but they come first decide whether they will use bat-
utility can then determine whether a full with several drawbacks that can leave tery-powered devices, mains-powered
rollout should take place. many residents underserved. These short- devices or a mix of both. For most smart
comings include difficulty connecting end lighting scenarios, battery devices are
SO WHICH APPLICATIONS OFFER points in more rural areas or locations ideal as they can affix to streetlight poles
THE MOST IMMEDIATE BENEFIT? with diverse terrain, such as mountains or without having to connect to a prima-
For many utilities, smart lighting offers coastlines. In addition, public mesh net- ry power source. There may be some
the best test case for an IoT implemen- works frequently carry latency and device instances where mains-powered devices
tation for several reasons. First, smart battery life issues due to the high number are needed, such as those when contin-
lighting can leverage existing assets (i.e., of device-to-device transmissions. uous communication with the network is
streetlight poles), so it doesnt require large As an alternative, many utilities and required. Regardless of which devices are
investment in new infrastructure. Next, municipalities have deployed private net- implemented, its important that the net-
lighting can offer benefits to the communi- works that offer two-way communication work in question is designed to efficiently
ty that are easily and quickly recognizable over a licensed spectrum that uses a STAR manage both types of devices.
to citizens, such as in the streetlight safety network design. This type of network can Another important consideration is
scenario mentioned earlier. Finally, IoT offer point-to-multipoint connectivity for simply what utilities need the device to
deployments for smart lighting can have faster data transmission and more flexibil- do, and what the vision may be for future
tremendous cost benefits from reduced ity for deploying various IoT applications. applications that leverage it. They may
energy and maintenance costs. Like flip- When combined with smart meters and want to use the sensor device to remotely
ping on a switch to turn on a light, they sensors, it can leverage existing assets like monitor systems and retrieve datasuch
can demonstrate bottom-line impactfast. streetlights to transform current infrastruc- as temperature and power levelsbut
By simply adding IoT sensors to street- ture into smart infrastructure. In addition, have other uses in mind for which they
light poles in a specified vicinity, you can these two-way networks offer the ability to might want to extend it. In this case, they
turn those poles into smart assets that transmit to and from hard-to-reach areas should think about how they might want

16 | August 2017

1708pg_16 16 8/3/17 5:04 PM

to expand the functionality of the device justifiably concerned about the potential peace of mind and add those extra layers of
and make sure to invest in a device that for data theft and loss. With so much data protection to the solution.
will support this added use. being transmitted between IoT sensors and
Finally, the devil is in the details. Its the communication network, its critical CONCLUSION
important to consider specific features to ensure that the network in question For all the benefits IoT stands poised to offer,
offered in a device to get the most out uses end-to-end security to help protect its no wonder that some municipalities and
of the investment, particularly if the against possible breaches, theft or tamper- utilities are reticent to deploy it, as all the fac-
utility plans to deploy a large number of ing. These kinds of outcomes can wreak tors to consider can seem daunting. By asking
devices. Does a device prevent theft and havoc on a system and cause customers to the right questions and considering the right
tampering by communicating user-con- quickly lose faith in the utilitys or munici- factors, such as the communication network,
figured alarms? Does it facilitate flexible palitys ability to harness technology. applications and devices being deployed and
and scalable installation through the sys- Because of this, municipalities and security of the infrastructure, municipalities
tem, including remote locations? These utilities must consider a network with and utilities will take the right first steps
types of considerations are critical when industry-standard AES-256 encryption toward realizing these benefits and improv-
looking for an IoT sensor, as they can be that has been audited by an independent ing the lives of the citizens they serve.
necessary differentiators that will help
n third party. Moreover, once the network is
Charlie Nobles is marketing director for light-
maximize the value of an investment.
max deployed, the administrator must set poli- ing solutions at Sensus and leads all related
cies to protect data from loss or theft. Those marketing and commercialization efforts. He
WHAT A ABOUT SECURITY? policies should include restrictions around has a bachelors degree in engineering and
High-profile data breaches occurring in
High-pro which data individual operators in the data a masters degree in mechanical engineering
and control theory, both from Duke University.
recent years have driven considerable press center can access. Finally, municipalities
Charlie also holds an MBA from Kenan-Flagler
coverage, and many utilities and munic- and utilities must invest in authentication Business School at the University of North Car-
ipalities, as w
well as their customers, are and firewall capabilities to provide further olina at Chapel Hill.


collectors. With monitoring, the mal- controls security as they continue to houses the data remains secure, effective
function can be quickly repaired with expand the number of devices in the and functional to support the critical
minimal disruption. network. infrastructure relied on by many.
The tremendous growth of smart grid
and smart city technology is another rea- THE FUTURE OF THE SMART CITY Tony Bogovic is vice pres-
ident, advanced consult-
son to monitor networks. Our increas- INFRASTRUCTURE
ing and engineering, at
ingly connected world makes growth in The future for electric utilities is bright Vencore Labs. Bogovic is a
these areas inevitable. The fast pace at with the technological innovations that seasoned management
which networks are evolving, along with can help growth and operational effi- and technology leader,
their sheer complexity and size, often ciency. The smart grid will continue to having held multiple positions within Bellcore,
Telcordia, Applied Communication Sciences
leads to device misconfigurations, expos- connect with smart devices, building up
and Vencore Labs. As head of the advanced
ing unencrypted AMI and Distributed more information and insights that will consulting and engineering group, he directs
Network Protocol (DNP3) trafficthe help power the infrastructure of cities the development and delivery of solutions and
communication protocols between auto- of all sizes. Continuous monitoring is services across a wide spectrum of telecom-
mation systems. When not properly con- one key in achieving greater situational munications operations, security and network
management technologies and integrated
figured, these communication protocols awareness and ensuring the grid is oper-
systems. Bogovic has held leadership industry
can lead to security issues that negatively ating correctly and remains secure. positions in areas ranging from next genera-
impact operations. To help mitigate this With proper monitoring, utility grid tion networking to operations support systems.
risk, grid operators and IT/OT sup- operators, city officials and citizens can He holds a Master of Science degree in electri-
port teams must continuously validate be sure that data and the technology that cal engineering from Columbia University.

August 2017 | 17

1708pg_17 17 8/3/17 5:04 PM


Community Energy
The Pull of Potential Economic Benefits
C ommunity energy initiativescoali-
tions of consumer groups, business-
es, local governments or simply groups of
Energy technologies, such as solar PV and storage have matured and proliferated in less
than half a decade, bringing down the related costs. We are seeing growing recognition
neighbors dedicated to generating and dis- from U.S. and European citizens that community energy schemes are economically via-
tributing their own energyhave increased ble. OMNETRIC Groups analysis shows that the cost savings from a community energy
rapidly in recent years and will likely con- scheme already could be enough to prompt consumers to make the switch. OMNETRIC
tinue to do so. At least 5,000 community Group estimates that a single household could make a one-off saving of nearly $4,000
groups in the UK explored the opportunity from a community energy scheme compared to going it alone, while also effectively
between 2009 and 2015, while the Rocky hedging against rises in energy prices. While the sum is not life-changing for most con-
Mountain Institute (RMI) estimated that the sumers, it makes the switch a choice of reason, rather than principle.
community-scale solar market for munici- The potential for economic benefitcost savings realized and new value generated
pal and cooperative utilities could exceed 10 is targeted by a group of partners working on a smart ggrid project
p j in Rotterdam,, the
gigawatts through 2020. Netherlands.
Current media and industry noise
would suggest that this rise in com-
munity energy groups is driven by
sustainability aspirations. OMNETRIC C
Groups recent research study high- igh-
lighted, however, that while sustain- tain-
ability is important, and often n the
initial impetus to considering ng a
community energy scheme, me,
the primary goal of com- om-
munity energy initiatives ives
is economic. The peo- eo-
ple involved in these ese
initiatives cite the
potential for more ore
affordable energy, as
well as the oppor- or-
tunity to keep the
value generated by
their local energy rgy
system inside the he

18 | August 2017

1708pg_18 18 8/3/17 5:04 PM

The city of Rotterdam, Dutch system operator Stedin, independent aggregator Lyv 3.Community Energy Platform Provider
Smart Living and Siemens are working with OMNETRIC Group to implement a dis- acting as a market maker, utilities can
tributed energy management system across the city starting in the Merwe-Vierhavens develop and package a suite of solu-
harbor area. The system will enable more flexible management of energy demands tions for communities designed to
and generation across the district, reducing congestion on the electricity grid and enable communities active participa-
providing savings in energy and distribution cost. tion in energy distribution
The smart grid will also stimulate investment in more sustainable electricity genera-
tion and innovation related to electricity storage, as well as lower investments related to Some utilities are already actively pur-
future grid build-out. The citys aldermen believe that in addition to the emission reduc- suing the first two roles. The third offers
tions it brings, there is an opportunity to build economic and sustainable value for the an additional step and a way for utilities
district and to expand the model more broadly across the city and surrounding areas. not only to play a role in growing the
emerging community energy market, but
WHERE DO UTILITIES FIT IN? also to shape it.
The economic ambitions of many community energy initiatives cannot be achieved A new energy economy is emerging,
without energy expertise and dedicated resource. This can drive the creation of new driven by the economic benefits on offer.
roles. For example, Lyv Smart Living, the aggregator in the Rotterdam project, will This focus on energy affordability, com-
manage the solution that will enable the creation of new energy-related services for bined with technological advancements
the citys residents and local businesses, as well as for the regulated network operator, and growing expertise, means that ener-
Stedin, with which they are closely collaborating. Stedin brings deep technical com- gy supply is no longer the reserve of the
petence around how to safely and reliably manage the smart grid.
petenc traditional players.
Some communities
com are attracting experienced professionals from the energy By getting closer and sharing the knowl-
sector to make the new energy economy a reality. While consumers edge needed for community energy initia-
enthusiasm for community energy is growing, however, a
enthusi tives to grow, utilities will be able to benefit
lack of in-depth technology and business knowledge from the opportunities that unfold.
has h
held some schemes back.
One source of such support could be the
On Craig Cavanaugh is regional
traditional utility providers. There could
tradi CEO of OMNETRIC Group for
be bbenefits to getting in front of this the Americas. He leads a grow-
new model. ing team of experts dedicated
to developing and delivering
There are, broadly speaking,
integrated smart grid solutions across North
three possible models utili-
thre America and Latin America. Cavanaugh is
ties can employ to help them focused on growing the companys market
adapt to the rise of communi-
ada share, responding to utility companies needs
ty eenergy: to use data intelligence to improve their grid
and business performance. Previously, he
was vice president, leading the North America
1.Collaborative Community Sales team. He started with OMNETRIC Group
Partnerparticipating as
Par in 2014, moving from Siemens, one of the
a technical observer and companys shareholders. During his time at
sounding board
sou Siemens, Cavanaugh was responsible for ac-
tivities such as strategic planning and ecosys-
2.C Service
tem design. He was instrumental in Siemens
Providerconsulting to
Pro acquisition of eMeter.
communities and providing
Craig is based in Raleigh, North Carolina,
eco-system solutions that
eco which is one of four OMNETRIC Group loca-
meet their unique energy
me tions in the U.S.

August 2017 | 19

1708pg_19 19 8/3/17 5:04 PM


A Segment of One
Using Integrated Analytics, Process Automation and
More to Deliver a Highly Personalized Customer Experience
E lectric utilities face transformative
pressures from nearly every angle.
Consumer expectations continue to evolve
they want more access to information on
demand. This new energy consumer has
fluid expectations of its utility service pro-
include utilities, must change the way
they engage their customers. They must
allow for more flexibility and agility as
swiftly as available technology drives new vider, basing those expectations with the customers expectations change.
trends and makes information more acces- increasing ease with which they engage Todays consumer wantsand expects
sible. Conservation efforts and changing with service providers in other industries. a highly personalized experience from
markets around the world continue to influ- Whether a utility is in a competi- his or her utility. Recent research by
ence regulations and utility challenges. In tive market or a regulated market, its Accenture Consulting validates this.
addition, utilities faced with flat, or even relationship with each of its custom- Accenture completed nearly 10,000
declining, demand must find new revenue ers is increasingly vital to its future interviews with utilities end customers
sources and explore new business models. success. Utilities must help customers in 18 countries for its 2017 report on
Modern consumers expect more than a manage demand, while at the same the new energy consumer. When these
bill from their electricity providers: they time building satisfaction and loyalty customers were asked what would make
want a consistent and valuable experience and reducing the operational costs of them willing to buy additional products
through a variety of channels. They want doing business. Todays increasingly cus- and services from their energy provider,
more choice in how they interact, and tomer-centric service industries, which products and services that are person-
alized to fit my needs and preferences
topped the list at 82 percent, followedwed
Welcome to Utility
by a seamless customer experience
ience (81
Contract Anniversary HIgh Bill Coming percent) and products and nd services that
are specific to my lifestyle
festyle (79 percent).
Taking a comprehensive platform
Bill Receipt
Outage approach h to the customer experience can
ovide a win-win for both the utility and
for its modern customers. For the utility,
a platform approach allows streamlining
of each stage of the customer lifecycle
Extreme Weather Call Into Call Center
across the enterprise, from billing and
back office operations to customer p pro-
grams and deep custom
customer engagement.
This approa
approach h requires departments and
Rate Change Utility Report Arrives teams across the utility to work in sync
and leverage enterprise data to deliv-
er improved customer experiences and
Peak Day Seasonal Change more personalized programs.
New Smart Meter What does this mean for the customer?

20 | August 2017

1708pg_20 20 8/3/17 5:04 PM

It allows utilities to take a more personal- might benefit from behavior adjustments information to generate insights and pro-
ized approach to their customer offerings that dont impact lifestyle. What it found vide relevant programs during moments
and experiences. One popular type of was astounding: behavioral interventions that matterthose critical moments in
utility offeringenergy efficiency pro- could reduce Americas total residential the customer lifecycle when a utility
gramsis described here. It shows how energy use by as much as 20 percent. has the greatest opportunity to increase
the use of enterprise data and analytics, In addition, the report pointed out that customer satisfaction, reduce customer
along with process automation can help providing improved information and service costs and introduce new services.
utilities take a more personalized approach feedback to customers, what it called
to customer offerings and experiences. behavioral nudges, building on ener- ner- M
gy efficiency programs alreadyy in place THAT MATTER
CUSTOMIZED ENERGY EFFICIENCY increased their impact evenen more. Content quality is critical when engag-
PROGRAMS BETTER MEET Customer experiences
iences continue to ing with u utility customers. Messaging
INDIVIDUAL NEEDS improve as utility technologies have thats generic and redundantwith no
Energy efficiency is being used in many evolved to better support customer-cen- personalizationfails to provide much
states for both electric utility resource tricc programs. Not all BEE programs are value. BEE programs tthat follow that same
planning and as a compliance mecha- created equal, however. Designing the formula often will realiz
realize a similar fate:
nism to meet emission targets. Electric
lectric right programs and using the right tech- ineffectual results. To captur
capture customers
utilities are working hard to amplify nology are essential for success. Without attention and achieve long-ter
long-term energy
the value of every efficiency
iency dollar they these ingredients, utilities can end up savings, program managers must ttalk to
spend to meet the he goals of constrained with inflexible point solutions that deliv- their customers as individuals, shar sharing
budgets. To do this, they are turning to er stale customer experiences and fail to highly personalized content that mirrors
ioral EE (BEE) programs to engage get credit for energy savings. their own experiences and preferences.
participants across their entire customer An enterprise platform approach to Timing is also critical. Customers dont
base, meet their (utilities) goals, and the customer experience enables utilities often notice or think about their electricity,
transform customer experiences. to use enterprise data and integrated unless it isnt there. They notice it when the
Utilities arent under pressure just to analytics to more quickly analyze data lights dont go on, or when they receive an
deliver greater energy savings with con-
strained funding. Theyre also striving to
meet increasing customer expectations. Customers want their utilities to deliver
Customers want their utilities to deliver greater insights into energy use, effortless
greater insights into energy use, effort- tools to access that information, and more
less tools to access that information, and
programs to help them manage consumption
more programs to help them manage
consumption year-round. BEE programs
are helping utiliti
utilities conquer these chal-
lenges by delivering the information cus-
leng based upon numerous criteria including, unexpectedly high bill for their usage.
tomers want, raising awareness of other demographics, usage data, behavioral Oracles research has shown that cus-
energy savings programs, and attaining data and psychographic factors. This tomers want more from communications
significant cost-effective results. In addi- allows utilities to deliver more personal- sent to them by their utilities, and more
tion, theres even more potential than is ized program experiences to customers. from the touchpoints they already have
currently being tapped. This type of analysis allows utilities with their utilities. With this information,
Nearly four years ago, McKinsey & Co. to: a) design highly-specific customer Oracle worked to try to identify the exist-
reported on the results of a consumer segments and targeted marketing cam- ing moments of utility-customer interac-
behavior study it conducted to deter- paigns; and b) categorize customers tion, and the existing moments of stress
mine how residential energy-efficiency by their energy habits and use that and anxiety created from customers

August 2017 | 21

1708pg_21 21 8/3/17 5:04 PM

experiences and relationships with their Again, a complete customer platform DESIGNING BEE PROGRAMS THAT
utility. What were these key moments allows utilities to deliver flexible and cus- ARE PERSONAL
that matter in the utilitys relationship tomized engagement through all channels. There has been a lot of discussion
with its customers and, more impor- Using communication preference man- about customer segmentation for utili-
tantly, in customers relationships with agement tools, customers can define how ty program planning over recent years.
utilities? The moments that matter are: and when they want to receive commu- Of these, attitudinal segmentation (con-
when the bills arrive, when theres an nications from their utility, and what type sumer perception of the utility or offer-
outage, when the seasons change, and of information. With these preferences ing) and psychographic segmentation
when customers move into new homes. clearly indicated, teams across the utility (defined by lifestyle, activities and inter-
Moving into a new home or apart- can work together to offer customers via ests) have been effective.
ment, for example is a good opportunity the channels they prefer, the best new val- The utility that can integrate this cus-
for customers to change their energy ue-added services, from energy efficiency tomer data with demographic data (age,
habits. This moment is a golden window programs to prepaid billing and more. gender, income, etc.), electricity usage
data from its meter data management
system, and call center and billing data
With a lot of the work being handled by col- on a common enterprise platform will
lection, integration and analytics processes have an advantage. It can then analyze
that provide the utility with a 360-degree the integrated data and begin to offer
view of each customers needs and wants, highly personalized recommendations
for utility value-added programs and
the utility can support customers in the same
services in a unified manner.
ways they are supported by retail, banking, This is the type of seamless engage-
transportation and other service sectors. ment a utility wants with each of its
customers. With a lot of the work being
not only to set customers on a path to In turn, this more personalized engage- handled by collection, integration and
savings with helpful tools, insights and ment tends to drive customer sentiment analytics processes that provide the util-
personalized energy savings or energy and satisfaction, as well as customer ity with a 360-degree view of each cus-
efficiency programs, but also to start off stickiness in competitive markets. tomers needs and wants, the utility can
their relationship with their new utility BEE programs also boost customer support customers in the same ways they
on the right foot. sentiment and satisfaction. An analysis are supported by retail, banking, trans-
of home energy report, or HER, pro- portation and other service sectors.
DRIVING MORE THAN ENERGY SAVINGS grams at several dozen utilities found
The most effective BEE programs drive that statements such as my utility helps
David De Maio is group
more than just energy savings. By cap- me manage my monthly energy usage
vice president, custom-
turing customers interest across differ- raise customer sentiment, as well as J.D.
er solutions, for Oracle
ent content channelspaper, email, web Power metrics by 5 percent on average. Utilities. De Maio is re-
and otherseffective BEE programs also Finally, in addition to driving offline sponsible for guiding
prime customers to notice subsequent behavior, BEE programs also motivate the ongoing direction
and strategy of Oracles
utility communications and participa- customers to engage onlineraising their
utility customer-focused solutions. Previously,
tion opportunities in other EE programs. likelihood to log into the utilitys web
De Maio was group vice president for Oracles
Coupled with the highly targeted messag- portal or complete an online audit. These professional services team, and has spent the
ing described above, the result is a pow- tools give customers more information past 22 years driving innovation in the utility
erful marketing engine that improves a about programs and ways to save energy, industry. Prior to his work with Oracle, he held
consulting delivery leadership positions with
utilitys entire demand-side management and they benefit the utility by shifting cus-
Black & Veatch, Accenture and more.
(DSM) portfolio. tomer interactions to lower-cost channels.

22 | August 2017

1708pg_22 22 8/3/17 5:04 PM


January 23-25, 2018

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center | San Antonio, TX



Owned & Produced By: Official Publication of DistribuTECH: Supported By:

Go to for more information.

1708pg_23 23 8/3/17 5:04 PM


Cozying up to Custo
Utilities Fight Disruption with Data and get Closer to Consumers Along t

T he 100-year-old you pay the bill and

we keep the power on relationship
dynamic between utility companies and
relationship. In addition to renew-
ables and connected consumers, other
disrupters include: carbon footprints,
inside out. Its not so good for an organi-
zation that needs to focus on customers
firstlooking outside in.
consumers doesnt work well today. Always global warming, new government reg- Whats the response to this shift?
connected consumers and a portfolio of ulations, distributed energy resources Consumers might be saying: Confusing
energy choices that cut into tradition- (DER), advanced metering infrastructures, changes have been forced on me, and Im
al revenue streams (were looking at you, plug-in electric vehicles, blockchain and paying more for my energy.
renewable energy sources) mean utilities time-of-use pricing. The list grows annually. Utilities are probably saying: Revenue
must evolve like the banking and telecomm Lynn Good, Duke Energy CEO, may is eroding because of disruptive technol-
industries did a few years ago. have summarized it best when she said, ogy and regulations, and its forcing me
Change is painful no matter what. But That [utility] culture is not a custom- to accommodate the new competitive
progressive utilities have started strategically er-centric culture. Its one that has been energy marketplace.
using their data to stay connected to custom- built on great engineering expertise. For both sides of the equation, main-
ers and prospects and thrive as businesses. Its one that cares about assets. Its one taining the relationship requires lots
that cares about miles, kilowatt-hours, more effort. Is there common ground
WHY UTILITIES LOOK FROM THE capacity factors, [and is] very system for consumers who want energy faster,
OUTSIDE IN oriented. cheaper and on their preferred terms and
There are many disruptions to the This traditional mindset is fine for an orga- the utility companies that must become
traditional utility company-consumer nizations operational integritylooking customer centric to survive?

24 | August 2017

1708pg_24 24 8/3/17 5:04 PM

1. Create a vision and a plan to get there. 4. Become process-oriented to enable
A utility cannot successfully manage cus- continuous improvement.

tomer relationships in a disruptive envi- Business processes are neither under-
ronment without first creating a vision stood nor governed to efficiently deliver
of that relationships future. The vision on valid customer expectations. Utilities
doesnt have to be complicated. A concise must embrace process-orientation as a
statement defining how the utility will business strategy to meet customer needs

ng the Way relate to its customers and help guide

them through unfamiliar territory is suf-
efficiently and to become more agile.
Doing so builds a platform that eases

Is there common ground for consumers who

want energy faster, cheaper and on their pre-
ferred terms and the utility companies who
must become customer centric to survive?
ficient. Something like, For better or timely, targeted responses in times of
worse, for richer or poorer, our company service disruption.
will meet our customers valid expecta- The challenges of achieving good cus-
tions until death do us part might work. tomer relationships in a disruptive ener-
gy marketplace are daunting but man-
2. Place customers at the heart of operations. ageable with the right mindset. Charles
This means understanding the voice of the Darwin foreshadowed the essence of
customer in more detail than ever before todays utility-consumer dynamic when
and delivering whats important to the cus- he said, It is not the strongest of the
tomer, not whats important to the utility. species that survives, nor the most intel-
Applying advanced analytics to segment ligent that survives. It is the one that is
WHAT CAN UTILITIES DO? and understand customers will provide an the most adaptable to change.
Customers are beginning to embrace the efficient means for accomplishing this goal.
change in the relationship. The 2016 J.D. To be successful, utilities must pay atten-
Mark Konya is a principal indus-
Power utility survey reports an increase in tion to the differences between groups.
try consultant at SAS. With over
overall consumer satisfaction over the pre- 35 years of experience in apply-
vious year. In addition, survey results make 3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. ing analytics to derive business
clear that an on-going commitment to high The era of the traditional utility/cus- value, Konya shares his expertise
customer satisfaction is financially reward- tomer relationship is ending. Its no with customers on integrating SAS into utility
operations. Konya is a professional engineer,
ing for utilities. A 2015 J.D. Power/SNL longer acceptable for customers to have
a Six Sigma Black Belt and a member of IEEE.
Energy white paper reports that utilities in contact with their energy providers only
the top quartile of overall customer satis- through a monthly bill. Instead, utilities Mike Smith is a principal industry
faction earned 0.6 percent higher return on must anticipate communicating with consultant with SAS. He has over
equity than utilities in the bottom quartile. customers personally about value-added 27 years of experience in the
utility IT, automation, smart grid
The impact of ongoing disruptions will programs, products and services based
and analytics markets. He has led numerous
largely reside in the hands of utilities as on individual needs and wishes. Again, industry research initiatives, and has founded
customers seek affordability and reliability this capability is enabled by advanced and co-founded numerous industry-leading
from their trusted energy provider. There analytics that offer market optimization, research, media and event initiatives and or-
are a few things utilities can do to manage multi-channel communications and ganizations, providing insights and forums for
thought leaders and market participants.
future disruptions: real-time decision support.

August 2017 | 25

1708pg_25 25 8/3/17 5:04 PM


Testing in the Digital Substation

IEC 61850-based Systems Lead to More Efficient Substations
T he transition of the electric power industry toward a smarter grid is characterized with
significant efforts to perform all tasks more efficiently and reduce outage duration,
including those related to the operation of multifunctional protection IEDs. The widespread
been implemented. It is critical to ensure
that the testing will not result in any
undesired operation, making isolation of
implementation of IEC 61850-based substation protection and the increased interest in dig- the test object from the rest of the ener-
ital substations (based on the sampled values interface with the substation process) provides gized substation extremely important.
an opportunity to develop and implement protection, automation and control systems that
can be tested remotely. REQUIREMENTS FOR ISOLATION
Maintenance testing of hardwired protection and control systems often requires a DURING TESTING
crew to drive to a remote location to perform it. By replacing hardwired interfaces with Functional testing requirements for
IEC 61850-based communications interfaces, utilities can have remote access to the devices and distributed functions also
substation for remote testing. determine the methods for testing both
The replacement of part or all the hardwired interfaces with communication links types of systems. The order in which
requires development and implementation of methods and tools that maintain the system components should be tested are:
same level of security during the testing process, while at the same time take advan- 1. Functional testing of individual IEDs
tage of the benefits that IEC 61850 provides. used in a protection scheme
It is common for people to use the terms effectiveness and efficiency interchangeably, 2. Functional testing of distributed protec-
believing they are more or less the same. The terms are, however, different. Effectiveness tion functions within a substation
is the degree to which objectives are achieved, without consideration of the resources Conventional hardwired protection
being used. Efficiency, on the other hand, is the extent to which a resource is used to devices must be physically isolated (Figure
effectively achieve an objective. 1), using a test switch that completely
Maintenance testing in general is testing performed in an energized substation to disconnects the tested device from the
diagnose and identify equipment problems or confirm the effective- substation environment.
ness of different actions taken to change settings, In an IEC 61850 based digital substa-
upgrade or repair the protection device tion, physical isolation is not possible. It is
or another component of the necessary, therefore, to implement the test
fault clearing system. The related features defined in the standard.
tests to be included
in the maintenance IEC 61850 EDITION 2 TESTING
test will depend on RELATED FEATURES
which of these list- Function elements of a protection IED,
ed measures have such as an inverse time phase overcurrent

26 | August 2017

1708pg_26 26 8/3/17 5:04 PM

FIGURE 1: Physical Isolation for Testing

element, are represented in the IEC 61850 information. This

object model by logical nodes (LN) con- supports the pos-
tained in logical devices. The LN or a sibility to test and
logical device can be put in TEST mode measure the per-

Test Switch
using the data object Mod LN or LLN0. formance of a
In TEST mode, the application is rep- control operation
resented by LN works. All communica- while the device is
tion services work properly and receive connected to the
updated values. Data objects will be system in TEST-
transmitted with quality test. Control BLOCKED mode.
commands with quality tests will be A control com-
accepted only by LNs in TEST or TEST/ mand is applied to
BLOCKED mode. a controllable data Test Device
The TEST/BLOCKED mode applies to object. As soon as
function elements that have a physical out- a command has FIGURE 2: Mirroring of Control Information
put to the process. In this mode, no output been received,
will be issued to the process, allowing, for the device will
example, a function element operating the activate the data
breaker (LN XCBR) to be tested without attribute opRcvd
being energized in the substation. (Figure 2). The
A command to operate can be either device will then
initiated by a control operation or by process the com-
a GOOSE message that the subscriber mand. If the com-
interprets as a command. If the com- mand is accepted,
mand is initiated with the test flag set the data attribute opOk will be activated REMOTE TESTING
to FALSE, it will be executed only if the with the same timing of the wired output. Maintenance testing in cases such as relay
function (LN or logical device) is ON. If The data attribute tOpOk will be the time mal-operation requires IED testing before
the device is set to TEST mode, it will not stamp of the wired output and opOk. putting it back in operation. In typical
execute the command. These data attributes are produced cases, this requires sending a testing crew
Control commands or GOOSE mes- independently, whether or not the wired to the substation to perform the testsa
sages with quality test set to TRUE will output is produced. The wired output time consuming and expensive process.
be accepted only by LNs in TEST or will not be produced if the function is in Sending a crew, especially to remote
TEST-BLOCKED mode. TEST-BLOCKED mode. locations under difficult weather condi-
Another important feature that has tions, is not only time consuming, but
been added is the mirroring of control might be a safety hazard for the team
and usually results in a prolonged out-
age. Some utilities, therefore, are active-
ly implementing the concept of digital
substations and seriously considering
performing remote testing in IEC 61850
Edition 2 based installations.
Protection systems installed in a digital
substation environment allow testing to
be performed remotely, however, the
use of both sampled values and GOOSE

August 2017 | 27

1708pg_27 27 8/3/17 5:04 PM

messages is required for the end-to-end (Figure 3). Remote desktop software, more No travel time
testing. For testing only part of a scheme accurately called remote access software or Improved safety of testing crews
that is affected by the modifications, it is remote-control software, allows the user to due to the elimination of travel to
possible to do the remote testing using remotely control one computer from another remote locations or during danger-
testing features from IEC 61850 Edition computer by taking over the mouse and ous weather conditions
keyboard and using the computer being con- Minimum or no setup time
FIGURE 3: Remote Testing Configuration nected as if it was the local Independent of weather conditions
computer. Improved PAC system availability
In addition, cybersecu- Reduced or no outage time
rity measures must be put
into place to ensure secure Edition 2 of IEC 61850 introduced many
communications between new features that further enhance the
the remote office comput- standards power. These features should
er and the test computer make end users lives easierassuming
located in the substation. the features are supported by future
Proper assignments of products. They are designed to support
different access rights are not only automated configuration and
necessary to ensure that execution of test procedures, but also
only people with sufficient remote testing for some specific test cases.
knowledge of the tools Interoperability between engineering tools
2. This enables testing a subset of func- and test procedures can run the remote tests. (including testing tools) likely will be
tions and their elements while keeping The remote testing concept is currently improvedsomething that is urgently
the rest of the system in operation. being defined by a CIGRE B5 working needed. New features supporting func-
Functions that can be tested remotely groupB5.53. It is focused on test strat- tional and system testing should facilitate
depend on the substation communica- egy for protection, automation and control isolation techniques required for IEC
tion systems design and the test equip- (PAC) functions in a full digital substation 61850 based installations, both during
ments integration level. based on IEC 61850 applications. The commissioning, in case of maintenance
Remote testing is defined as a testing working group is considering the methods problems, as well as for routine testing.
specialists ability to perform testing of for configuration and execution of remote Even with some challenges, the bene-
a protection, automation and control testingthe requirements for extensions in fits in improving testing efficiency are too
function, device or distributed scheme the IEC 61850 models that will support it. big to ignore.
from a remote location, without being This will require some organizational
Dr. Alexander Apostolov is
physically present in the substation. changes to bring testing of the differ-
principal engineer with Omi-
This means that the testing system must ent function typesprotection, control, cron Electronics. He received
be pre-engineered as part of the substation measurements, recoding, etc.under a a masters degree in electri-
protection, automation and control system single authority. All interested groups cal engineering and applied
and permanently installed in the substation. must work together when engineering mathematics and Ph.D. from the Technical
University in Sofia, Bulgaria. He has 40 years
In addition, the test computer and test a digital substation to define test plans
experience in power systems protection, au-
devices must be substation hardened to covering all the earlier mentioned func- tomation, control and communications. Dr.
withstand the substation environment. tions to support the possibilities for local Apostolov is an IEEE Fellow and member of
Because testing is performed remotely as well as remote testing, when necessary. the Power Systems Relaying Committee. He
through a wide area communications Even with some challenges and invest- is also a Distinguished Member of CIGRE,
holds four patents and presented more than
interface, it is critical that the interface ment in permanently installed test equip-
480 technical papers. Dr. Apostolov is an IEEE
meet cybersecurity requirements. ment in the substation, the benefits in Distinguished Lecturer and Adjunct Professor
Testing specialists use remote access soft- improving testing efficiency are too big at the Department of Electrical Engineering,
ware tools to remotely control test computers to ignore. They include: Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape
Town, South Africa.
28 | August 2017

1708pg_28 28 8/3/17 5:04 PM


Smart Substations
Implementing Backup with Battery Technology
A s the demand for renewable energy
increases, and the patterns for supply
and demand change, smart digital substa-
Its important while implementing dig-
ital primary and secondary substation
equipment to consider the essential role
outage. They can provide power for
switchgear to change the configuration
of the network, help isolate lines and
tions are beginning to be implemented. of the backup battery. clear faults before power can be restored
Electricity transmission and distribution Battery systems can be found in every safely. They also can power communi-
network operators are preparing to equip substation and can provide minutes to cation and control equipment, which is
power substations with digital control and hours of backup power during a power fast becoming more important in smart
communication carried by fiber optic net- digital substations.
works. This will allow faster communica- By adopting a battery technology that
tion, enhanced safety and more. is compatible with digital control and
communication, operators can better
integrate their essential backup.

RTE (Rseau de transport dlectric-
it), operates 100,000 kilometers of over-
head lines ranging from 63,000 volts to
400,000 volts in France, as well as 46
cross-border lines. It is an important elec-
tricity network operator in Europe and
has implemented battery technology com-
patible with digital control and commu-
nication in its Smart Substations project.
Electricity generation in France has tra-
ditionally relied on nuclear power stations.
In the past few year, however, there has
been a dramatic increase in the use of
renewable energyincluding wind and
solar photovoltaic. There has been progress
toward reaching the European Union (EU)
targets for renewable energy. Today, 20
percent of French electricity consumption
is generated from renewables, including
11,200 MW from wind and 6,600 MW
from solar energy. Although this shows

August 2017 | 29

1708pg_29 29 8/3/17 5:12 PM

progress, Frances objective is to increase advantages of Li-ion batteries are not
the amount to 32 percent by 2030. always important in terms of substations
To help reach these targets, RTE deliv- or even digital substations and most
ered the four-year Smart Substations of RTEs substations are equipped with
project between 2013 and 2016 by cre- lead-acid batteries.
ating modern substations that are remote Yet, these were major advantages of
control capable. RTE selected two sub- Li-ion batteries during the project. One
stations in the Somme region of north- of RTEs digital substations was located
ern France, where the highest level of inside an existing building and the other
grid-connected wind power lies. One was a containerised solution. This meant
was the 90/20 kV Alleux substation, that size was an important factor for RTE
located at the point of supply to distri- to consider, and Li-ion technology posed
bution system operator ERDF, and the the best option as a result. The smaller
other is the 255/ 90 KV Blocaux substa- the equipment, the easier it is to fit inside
tion, located at the interconnection with a containerised substation or compact
neighbouring Luxembourg. substation and the lower the requirements
When choosing the batteries, RTE had a for civil engineering. The fact that Li-ion
number of priorities. It needed to ensure technology is also lightweight means that
the same high levels of performance and less structural support is needed and there
safety for the battery systems as other is simpler manual handling during instal-
substation equipment. funded by the French government and lation and maintenance.
the Blocaux substation is connected Low maintenance was also important
Its objectives were: to neighbouring Luxembourg, it was to RTE as they wanted an autonomous
Minimize the need for on-site super- important for RTE to consider European substation with a minimal number of
vision and intervention by technicians and French suppliers when it came to visits by maintenance technicians to top
Enabling access to control centers specifying a backup battery system. up or check electrolyte levels. One of
Deliver a technology that would remain the key benefits of the Li-ion batteries is
compatible in the future (in case of THE REASONS BEHIND LI-ION that they are sealed for life so require no
the need for extension/alteration) The main advantage of Li-ion technol- maintenance.
ogy is its high energy density, which pro- The batteries are also modular in
One additional challenge for back- vides batteries with a compact footprint nature, meaning that a battery system
up batteries in a digital substation is and reduced weight. This is why Li-ion can be built which is closely aligned with
that they are harder to integrate with technology is commonly used in indus- the system requirements. In the case of
the state-of-the-art SCADA and con- tries where weight and performance are the Blocaux substation, the battery has
dition monitoring, which is the raison the main priorities, such as aerospace been designed to deliver 11 kW at 110 V
dtre for digital substation technology. and telecom installations. for up to four hours.
Conventional lead-acid battery technol- Safts Li-ion technology dates back
ogy is not immediately compatible with to the early 1990s, when it developed IEC 61850 SMART GRID PROTOCOL
digital communication systems. its first Li-ion batteries for applications In digital substations, it is important to
RTE selected Saft for its lithium-ion such as mobility, space and defense. integrate the substation equipment with
(Li-ion) technology, which could meet Nowadays, Li-ion batteries can be found the international standard that governs
the technical requirements, and because in consumer devices and electric vehicles protection and control systems in the
it had experience and expertise in util- as a result of the technology becoming grid, known as the IEC 61850.
ity applications. In addition, because more accessible. When it comes to digital communica-
the Smart Substation project is partly The small size and light weight tion, a great advantage of Li-ion when

30 | August 2017

1708pg_30 30 8/3/17 5:12 PM


Overcoming Challenges on
High Voltage Switchgear Projects

W ithin any power system, the ability to disconnect and iso-
late electrical equipment is of paramount importance for
safety reasons, as well as to enable both preventative maintenance
Although applicable to all types of installation and mainte-
nance, the challenge of coordinating site access and timings
and emergency repair work to be carried out efficiently. From low can be especially heightened when working on higher voltage
voltages of 11 kV up to high voltage systems producing 132kV, it switchgear projects. This is mainly due to the necessity of arrang-
is switchgear that enables critical parts of the circuit to be isolated ing power outages with distribution network operators (DNOs)
and de-energised. that equally satisfy customer requirements. It is inevitable that
In the field of electrical and power engineering, when the volt- networks will be disrupted to connect into the system, even
age increases, so too do the risksboth to the individuals carrying if conducting only routine safety and efficiency testing of the
out the work and to the equipment itself. Safety is therefore always equipment.
the number one priority for any professional electrical contracting In addition, because power outages cause knock-on effects
firm. When the occupational hazards are unavoidably heightened to those reliant upon the power being delivered, projects must
by higher voltage requirements, safety systems must be enhanced be carefully planned to minimize inconvenience. This makes
and adhered to accordingly, from the planning, testing and instal- seasonality another key consideration, as most DNOs will not
lation of switchgear and transformer equipment, through to its permit an outage for installation or maintenance work during
operation and maintenance. There are, however, several wider the winter months, when power access is crucial. Similarly,
challenges facing electrical contractors who are hired to conduct for industrial clients, outages can often result in production
high voltage switchgear and transformer work. This article focuses being halted while work is carried out. These jobs also must
on electrical contractors responsibilities and elaborates on the key be scheduled as far in advance as possible to enable alternative
challenges they face when conducting transformer work and how power to be arranged beforehand.
they can overcome those challenges. In addition to the difficulties of working to client specifications,

August 2017 | 31

1708pg_31 31 8/3/17 5:12 PM

managing time-critical deliverances often further substantial obstacles. Differing and switchgear that can withstand
are beyond the contractors control. from lower voltage equipment that humidity, variable temperatures and salt-
Successfully installing new switchgear can be entirely housed within a build- iness of the marine air.
on time, for example, is almost entirely ing, switchgear for higher voltages of These environmental challenges vary
reliant upon suppliers meeting delivery 66kV and above is usually mounted significantly across different sectors, too.
deadlineswithout the equipment there externally, requiring installations and Gaining access to wind and solar sites
to be installed, the contractors job is maintenance work to take place out- both on and offshorecan be especially
impossible. side. Both the systems and workers hazardous in winter.
Along the same lines, organizing wit- are exposed to the elements, making Mother Nature is not something that
ness testing for DNO projects carries its work difficult and even dangerous in can be controlled, therefore, contractors
own set of preparatory challenges. While high winds or torrential rain. Weather must conduct individual risk assessments
clearances are required for operatives on conditions and other external factors, for every site and schedule. Sometimes
specialist sites, the process isnt always therefore, must be considered. the conditions of the project are manage-
straightforward. Careful planning and Although DNOs wont usually coordi- able, if added caution is exercised, but
third-party scheduling is required before nate installation and maintenance works there will be occasions when work must
the project gets off the ground to ensure during winter, these timing restrictions be postponed if the dangers pose too
that the work can be conducted. dont apply to all projects. In addition, great a concern.
even during warmer months, adverse
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS weather conditions can still pose a huge EQUIPMENT ADVANCEMENTS
While initial difficulties reside in challenge to contracting teams, as well The nature of modern switchgear
project preparations, many factors as a hazard to equipment. Offshore wind and transformer equipment makes it eas-
outside of human control present sites, for example, require transformers ier to install, safer to use and more

32 | August 2017

1708pg_32 32 8/3/17 5:12 PM

environmentally friendly. SF6 gas and TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES stringentcorrelating with the hazardous
vacuum equipment has largely replaced In addition to keeping up with advanc- nature of the work being carried out
oil-filled tanks, facilitating automatic ing equipment and installation tech- so specialist training and authorization
control and consequently reducing the niques, the capability to deal with older in safe systems of work is an essen-
hazards associated with testing, main- systems also is crucial. In an ideal world, tial requirement for teams. In addition,
tenance and operation. This switchgear all switchgear and transformers would be site-specific certifications often are a pre-
also is far less risky to install and is a periodically upgraded and replaced with requisite. Water assignments, for example,
greener alternative than the older liq- more innovative models. But, economic require workers to undertake hygiene
uid systems. and practical limitations mean that this training before site access can be granted.
As technology advances, however, so too isnt always the case. Contractors, there- While appropriate preparatory mea-
do project regulations and training require- fore, must be trained in the maintenance sures should always be taken with
ments for those installing, maintaining and of older equipment, as well as the instal- any high voltage installation or main-
operating the systems. Industrial instal- lation of newer technologies. tenance project, unforeseen challenges
lations, for example, necessitate that the With such a wide breadth of switchgear can, and often do, crop up. By building
substation building and concrete plinths equipment from an array of manufactur- good relationships with clients, sup-
be built to increasingly stringent speci- ers, having an awareness of the technical pliers and subcontractors and working
fications. Failure to keep up with these differences and operational restrictions together collaboratively, however, any
developments can be detrimental not only is undeniably tough, but essential. Parts obstacles that may appear can be over-
to project progress, but also the equipment often are difficult to source for repair come safely and effectively.
and workers safety. work, especially if the originals have
Relay systems are similarly advanc- been discontinued. That said, alterna-
ing. Their multi-functionality means tives can usually be sourced, if the con- Richard Smith is joint
managing director at
that fewer are now needed to fulfil sys- tractor knows what to look for.
Smith Brothers, an electri-
tem protection requirements, resulting Alongside the trade and discipline-spe- cal engineering specialist
in increased efficiency and cost-sav- cific qualifications required for switch- company based in Elland,
ings. But again, the safe operation of gear fitters, cable jointers and commis- West Yorkshire county, En-
modern electronic protection relies on sion engineers, appropriate health and gland. It provides high volt-
age power to clients throughout the commer-
a much higher level of technical train- safety accreditations also are required.
cial, renewables and water treatment sectors.
ing among workers. High voltage safety rules are far more

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 Mohamed Fourati is Safts Sales

compared to other battery technologies and real-time situational awareness on its Manager for France and Total &
Benning Key Account Manager.
is that it requires an electronic battery batteries as it does from the primary and
He supports backup batteries for
management system (BMS). This means secondary substation equipment. critical applications in utilities, oil &
that it is amenable to integrating into an Safety is another vital factor in battery gas, buildings and industries cus-
operators SCADA (Supervisory Control selection and Saft has demonstrated the tomers. With an engineering degree from the pres-
and Data Acquisition) system. safety of its qualified industrial battery tigious cole Nationale Suprieure dArts et Mtiers,
he has since worked in a number of technical and
Saft achieved this by integrating smart systems through achieving safety cer-
commercial roles.
grid communications into the battery tifications in the aviation, space and
charger. The charger is controlled by marine industries (where safety rises French transmission system operator RTE has
the battery and it is the interface that above all other factors). For RTEs proj- adopted Li-ion battery technology for backup power
relays information to RTEs smart grid ect in particular, Saft worked extremely in its smart substations project. Mohamed Fourati,
Safts Sales Manager for Stationary Batteries in France,
control and protection scheme, using the closely with its engineers to demon-
explains the advantages of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery
IEC61850 protocol. It allows RTE to ben- strate the safety that is built into our technology and why it has a growing role in digital
efit from the same condition monitoring Li-ion technology. substations.

August 2017 | 33

1708pg_33 33 8/3/17 5:12 PM


3-in-1 Serial Server Overhead Conductor

Moxa has launched the new Southwire has developed a new overhead conduc-
NPort IAW5000A-6I/O, which integrates tor for overhead lines designed to handle extreme ice
a RS-232/422/485 serial device server, loads. The company says its new Max Ice overhead con-
a Wi-Fi client/bridge and multiple ductors sag less under heavy ice loads. That saves the
digital I/Os into a single compact transmission owner money, because support structures
device. By deploying the NPort IAW5000A-6I/O, plant dont need to be as tall. The high mechanical strength of
managers can wirelessly connect machinery to an IEEE Max Ice overhead conductors can increase the strength
802.11a/b/g/n network for the collection, remote monitor- margins for the longest spans and most extreme storm
ing and analyzing of real-time visual insights on machine conditions. Max Ice is composed of high-temperature-
performance. Any RS-232/422/485 serial or Ethernet tolerant ZTAL (AT-3) aluminum zirconium alloy, a high-
device in the field can be linked to a wireless device. The strength steel core and mischmetal alloy coating for high
multiple digital I/Os make the NPort IAW5000A-6I/O ideal heat tolerance and corrosion protection. A small conduc-
for industrial data acquisition for heighened efficiency, tor size means less ice weight for the same ice thickness,
reduce production downtime and lower overall costs. The and lower weight reduces sag and puts less stress on
NPort IAW5000A-6I/O supports baudrates between 50 transmission towers.
and 921.6 kbps. A major threat thwarted by the device is Southwire


Fiber Optic Repeater

Belden Inc. has released a new version of its PROFIBUS
SP6 Gas Measuring Device fiber optic repeater. The OZD Profi 12M G22 allows
DILO GmbH, a manufacturer of SF6 gas PROFIBUS networks to communicate over longer distanc-
handling equipment with its headquarters in es through fast and reliable fiber optic signals, while also
Babenhausen/Bavaria, Germany, has brought guaranteeing signal reliability through integrated redun-
a new generation of SF6 Multi-Analyzer dancy technology. This new device builds on the family
multiple measuring devices to market. This of Hirschmann PROFIBUS repeaters
allows the SF6 gas quality to be checked with higher signal conversion capac-
easily in accordance with the (EU) F-Gas regulation and ity. Specific enhanced capabilities
IEC Standard 60480 (reuse specifications). To ensure a of this repeater include: extended
trouble-free and uninterrupted energy supply, the SF6 operating distances for PROFIBUS
quality of fiber gas insulated equipment in energy provi- communications thanks to two elec-
sion must be checked, as also specified in the EU F-Gas trical and two optical ports; failsafe
Regulation 517/2014. The three parameters which deter- communications with built-in ring redundancy, without any
mine the quality, SF6 concentration, humidity and quantity measureable interruption (i.e., within 0 milliseconds); the
of decomposition products, can now be measured in one highest data integrity, despite harsh environments, shel-
single operation with the new SF6 Multi-Analyzer. As a tered by a robust metal housing with protective coating on
result, service specialists can determine on site whether the internal components; high-speed data transmissions,
the gas still complies with the IEC Standard 60480 (SF6 up to 12 Mbps among the fastest in the industry; and
reuse) or whether it needs purification. support of singlemode, multimode and plastic fiber.
DILO Belden

34 | August 2017

1708pg_34 34 8/3/17 5:12 PM

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Oncor is an excellent fit for In March, and again in April, U.S. monthly electricity
Berkshire Hathaway, and we are generation from utility-scale renewable sources
pleased to make another long-
term investment in Texaswhen we exceeded nuclear generation for the first time since
invest in Texas, we invest big. July 1984.
Warren Buffett, on his companys energy subsidiarys U.S. Energy Information Administration
$9 billion cash bid for Oncor Electric Delivery

Having a diverse portfolio of When distributed energy resources (DERs) arrive, Illinois will be ready.
all the energy sources, including ScottMadden and Smart Electric Power Alliance, 51st State Perspectives
renewables, is important to this
country. Picking and choosing a Perceived Lack of Policy Progress Dampens Confidence, but Strength in Key
few that fit your political agenda End Markets Provides Counterbalance. The current conditions indexs 10-point
is not good for America. slide from 70.6 in May to 60.5 this month brings it to the lowest level since
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry November 2016.
National Electrical Manufacturers Association report on July Business Conditions Index
We are beginning to see an
uptick in infrastructure attacks,

and in the case of Industroyer, the
attackers seem to have extensive
knowledge about industrial control
protocols. Since the industrial #Utilities are great at planning, but must be
controls used in the Ukraine are the even better at reacting to reality.
same in other parts of Europe, the @XploreRuggedPC
Middle East and Asia, we could see
more of these attacks in the future. Very encouraged to see #energyefficiency investment up 9% in 2016
Terry Ray, chief product strategist for Imperva

The thing about our Lisa Davis: Progress in the #energy

energy grid is that it is not
only energy inefficient, but it is
#market depends on the agreement between
financially inefficient. There are government & producers
@Siemens_Energy, quoting column by managing board member
ample opportunities for utilities
to earn shared savings from By 2020, 1.7 MB of new info will be created every second
improving efficiency, and for every human - Top 10 #BigData facts, via @Dzone:
solar and storage can help
utilities realize its promise. @AccentureTech
Richard Kauffman, energy czar of New York,
speaking at InterSolar North America opening ceremony

36 | August 2017

1708pg_36 36 8/3/17 5:12 PM




Energy Storage Flexible Generation and On-Site Power
Microgrids Convergence of Technology and Energy
Renewable Generation Material Handling


Owned &
Presented by:
produced by:

Go to for more information.

1708pg_C3 3 8/3/17 5:12 PM

Network outages and service disruptions dont
have to be a way of life for a utility. Esris location
intelligence solutions empower you to monitor

both the location and condition of your most
critical assets. Strengthen your utility with the
ability to predict, and most importantly, prevent
major disruptions before they happen.

INFRASTRUCTURE? Break the cycle of disruptions and unhappy

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