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POWER-GRID.

COM : SEPTEMBER 2014

T H E O F F I C I A L P U B L I CAT I O N O F

16

Brazil Improves Reliability


With Smart Grid Sensors

2 0 M2M Testing in UK
27 Substation Case Study: China
3 0 Substation Case Study: New York

Oncors New
Way to Engage
Customers

YOUR POWER DELIVERY MEDIA SOURCE

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FROM THE EDITOR

EDITOR IN CHIEF

TERESA HANSEN

Its Back to Brazil


For the third year, PennWell is taking DistribuTECH to Brazil.
POWERGRID International is the events official publication, and this issue
will be distributed at the event.
Brazil is the largest country in South America with 8.5 million square
kilometers of land mass and 7,500 kilometers of coastline. It has abundant
minerals, ores, fossil fuels and fertile agricultural land, all of which drive the
countrys growing economy. In addition, Brazil is home to many large rivers
that are ideal for hydropower facilities. During years with at least average
rainfall, the 14-GW Itaipu dam on the Paran River between Brazil and
Paraguay can provide nearly 25 percent of Brazils electricity supply. Even
during droughts, which Brazil is experiencing, hydropower provides the
largest percentage of Brazils electricity. The country also has substantial wind
corridors suited for wind generation, which is growing steadily there.
Nevertheless, Brazil lacks the infrastructure to deliver electricity to end
users. Most of Brazils hydropower is in the Northwest far from load centers
primarily in the Southeast. Long, expensive transmission lines are needed to
move the hydropower and allow Brazil to develop its wind power potential
adequately.
But progress is being made. In November, Interligao Eltrica do
Madeira (IE Madeira), a consortium of three major Brazilian energy
providers, energized the Rio Madeira transmission link in Brazil. The
600-kV bipolar overhead line is the worlds longest high-voltage direct
current (HVDC) transmission line. It is 2,385 kilometers (about 1,500
miles) long, and it can transmit up to 7.1 GW of electricity. ABB and
Alstom supplied power equipment for the Rio Madeira transmission
link, which was constructed in 24 months. A few weeks ago, ABB
commissioned the HVDC converter stations.
Brazils distribution infrastructure also needs investment. Energy
theft, aging, inadequate infrastructure and the lack of automation
keep Brazils distribution companies from providing adequate, reliable
electricity to their customers. Politics and government policies have
created some of Brazils electricity problems, and those are tough to
change. Others problems can be addressed and changed through
innovative technologies and processes, which is why PennWell created
DistribuTECH Brasil. Our goal is to provide conference content and
exhibitors that will help T&D utilities find solutions and partners and
provide reliable electricity to fuel the growing economy.
DistribuTECH Brasil will be co-located with PennWells HydroVision
Brasil and POWER-GEN Brasil events. Attendees and exhibitors are sure to
leave with a lot of knowledge. If youre interested in the Brazilian electricity
industry, please join us Oct. 21-23 in Sao Paulo.

2 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Teresa Hansen
918.831.9504 teresah@pennwell.com

SENIOR EDITOR

Kristen Wright
918.831.9177 kristenw@pennwell.com

ONLINE/ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Jeff Postelwait
918.831.9114 jeffp@pennwell.com

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Deanna Taylor
918.832.9378 deannat@pennwell.com

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

TransmissionHub Chief Analyst Rosy Lum


Senior Analyst Corina Rivera-Linares

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR

Angie ODea
918.831.9431 angieo@pennwell.com

VICE PRESIDENT-AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT


& MARKETING
June Griffin

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER


Linda Thomas
918.832.9254 lindat@pennwell.com

SUBSCRIBER SERVICE

P.O. Box 3264, Northbrook, IL 60065


phone 847.763.9540
pgrid@halldata.com

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN


POWER GENERATION GROUP
Richard Baker
918.831.9187 richardb@pennwell.com

PENNWELL CORP. IN EUROPE

PennWell International Limited


The Water Tower, Gunpowder Mill
Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 1BN, United Kingdom
phone +44.1992.656600
fax +44.1992.656700
pennwelluk@pennwell.com

CHAIRMAN

Frank Lauinger

PRESIDENT/CEO

Robert F. Biolchini

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE


& ADMINISTRATION (CFO)
Mark C. Wilmoth

1421 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK 74112


PO Box 1260, Tulsa OK 74101
Phone 918.835.3161 Fax 918.831.9834
pgi@pennwell.com
www.pennwell.com

POWERGRID International is the


offcial publication of

Transformational
trends are shaking up
the utility industry.
Consumers are pursuing
distributed generation
Load growth is slowing
New regulations are changing
the landscape

These trends threaten the traditional


utility business model, but can also
be seen as opportunities.
Learn how Opower can help you
realize the opportunity offered by
these trends by focusing on your most
valuable assets- your customers.

Visit Opower.com/solutions
Go to www.pgi.hotims.com for more information.

SEPTEMBER 2014 VOLUME 19.09

20 LTE Makes Smart

Metering Even Smarter


Eran Eshed of Altair Semiconductor writes that
the Internet connection is one of the most
fundamental features of smart meters, and it must
be secure, robust and long-lasting. For these
reasons, 4G LTE is nearly perfect.

11

24 M2M Testing

Times for UK Utilities


Angus Panton of SQS Group Ltd.
predicts that the ability to control
devices such as thermostats from a
smartphone will be big business.

Customer Engagement 27 Case Study: Jiangxi Electric Power


A New Approach Needed
Design Institute Increases Substation
Mike Guyton of Oncor Electric Delivery
shares how the Texas utility is breaking
the molds to meet customers needs.

From the Editor 2


Notes 6
Beyond Asset Mapping 14
Three More Ways to
Leverage Your GIS
Matt Crooks of Schneider Electric
writes that utilities can use their GIS to share
knowledge across the organization, plan
an expansion and manage field teams.

Smart Grid Sensors 16


Well-positioned to Improve
Reliability at Brazils Mega Utilities
Kim Getgen of Tollgrade Communications
gives the top five advantages of smart grid
sensors, using examples from Brazil.
PowerGrid International: ISSN 1547-6723,
is published 12 times per year (January,
February, March, April, May, June, July, August,
September, October, November and December)
by PennWell Corp., 1421 S. Sheridan Rd., Tulsa
OK 74112; phone 918.835.3161. Copyright
2014 by PennWell Corp. (Registered in U.S.
Patent Trademark Office). All rights reserved.
Authorization to photocopy items for internal
or personal use, or the internal or personal
use of specific clients, is granted by PowerGrid
International: ISSN 1085-2328, provided that

4 | September 2014

www.power-grid.com

the appropriate fee is paid directly to Copyright


Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Dr., Danvers,
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please contact Copyright Clearance Center,
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gas utilities and pipeline companies around the
world. Periodicals Postage Paid at Tulsa, OK
and additional mailing offices. Subscription: $85
per year (U.S.), $94 (Canada/Mexico), $225

Design Efficiency
Cathy Chatfield-Taylor of CC-T Unlimited explains how
Bentleys substation solution unified structural, physical and
electrical design at a PowerChina subsidiary.

30 Case Study: High-voltage

Underground Cable for


NY Substation Expansions
With Space Constraints

Peter Ebersold of Marmon Utility


examines how NYSEG expanded the Big
Tree Substation that feeds Ralph Wilson
Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills.

32 Wireless Field-area Networks

for Smart Grid Communications

Bert Williams of ABB Tropos Wireless Communications Systems


writes that smart grid applications can help utilities meet conflicting
demands, but an additional component is required: a two-way
broadband communication network.

35 Products
36 Calendar/Ad Index
(international air mail). Back issues of PowerGrid
International may be purchased at a cost of
$13 each in the U.S. and $21 elsewhere. Copies
of back issues are also available on microfilm
and microfiche from University Microfilm, a Xerox
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Available on the NEXIS Service, Mead Data
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865-6800. Postmaster: Send address changes
and other circulation information to PowerGrid
International, P.O. Box 3264, Northbrook, IL
60065-3240. Return undeliverable Canadian

On the Cover: Pam Wheat, director of customer


service and solutions at Oncor Electric Delivery.

addresses to P.O. Box 122, Niagara Falls, ON L2E


6S4 PowerGrid International is a registered
trademark of PennWell Corp. We make portions of
our subscriber list available to carefully screened
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let us know by contacting us at List Services,
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NOTES

J.D. POWER: SATISFACTION WITH RETAIL ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS IMPROVES

6 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

Recall of communications increased


dramatically in 2014.
In Texas, 43 percent of customers recall
an REP communication this year, compared with just 30 percent in 2013.
Recall of communications also improved
in the other eight states to 29 percent in
2014 from 26 percent in 2013.
One opportunity for retail electric providers to grow their customer base is
by convincing consumers to switch from
their local electric utility, said Jeff Conklin,
senior director of the energy practice at
J.D. Power. Nearly two-thirds of customers avoid switching because they dont
perceive the savings as being big enough
to take the time to switch, or they are not
sure how to go about switching. Retail
electric providers need to help customers
overcome these obstacles with better communication about the process and benefits
of switching.
KEY FINDINGS
Perception of price has a strong
impact on customer satisfaction. Price
satisfaction is higher among customers on a fixed-price contract (704)
than among those on a variable pricing plan (636).
Customers with a variable price plan
in eight states paid higher bills this
year because of big market price
swings attributed to severe weather.
Price satisfaction among customers with variable plans declined 27
points based on surveys completed
during September and December
2013when the price index was
630compared with customers

surveyed in March and June 2014


(603). Satisfaction among customers
with fixed-price plans declined only
10 points from 2013 (692 vs. 682,
respectively).
> Reasons customers avoid switching to a retail electric provider are
that: the bill savings are not big
enough to switch (37 percent);
they are satisfied with the level
of service they get from their
local utilities (27 percent); they
dont know how to switch (24
percent); and they are concerned
about getting worse service if
they were to switch (22 percent).
> Overall, 21 percent of customers
plan to switch from their local
electric distribution companies
during the next three months.
More than one-fourth (27 percent) say they definitely will or
probably will consider switching if they knew they would save
up to $20 a month.
Among all factors driving satisfaction,
enrollment/renewal improved the
least (+18 points) from 2013.
In Illinois and Ohio, satisfaction
among customers who have switched
from their local electric utilities via
aggregation (communities negotiate
a retail contract on their behalf) is
substantially lower than among those
who have chosen an REP on their
own (619 vs. 647, respectively).
RETAIL ELECTRIC PROVIDER
STUDY RANKINGS
Connecticut. Ambit Energy ranks
CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / KURHAN

Despite an extremely severe winter and


correspondingly high electricity bills, satisfaction with retail electric providers has
improved dramatically from 2013, driven partly by improved communications,
according to the J.D. Power 2014 Retail
Electric Provider Residential Customer
Satisfaction Study.
The study, now in its second year of
measuring retail electric providers in
competitive markets in addition to Texas,
examines satisfaction among residential
customers of 82 ranked retail electric providers in nine states across five key factors:
price, communications, corporate citizenship, enrollment/renewal and customer
service. An additional factor, billing and
payment, is measured in Texas.
Overall satisfaction with
retail electric providers (REP)
in Texas is 706 (on a 1,000point scale), an increase of 24
points from 682 in 2013.
Satisfaction in the other
eight states is 626, an
improvement of 20
points from 606 in
2013.
Although
Texas
ranks highest overall,
Pennsylvania (650)
ranks highest among
the other eight states.

highest in Connecticut with a score of


705 and performs particularly well in
the price, communications, corporate
citizenship and enrollment/renewal
factors.
Illinois. IGS Energy ranks highest in
Illinois with a score of 668, performing
particularly well in the price, enrollment/
renewal and customer service factors.
Maryland. Washington Gas Energy
Services ranks highest in Maryland with
a score of 660 and performs particularly
well in the price, communications and
customer service factors.
Massachusetts. Energy Plus ranks
highest in Massachusetts with a score
of 639 and performs particularly well

in the price, communications and corporate citizenship.


New Jersey. Ambit Energy ranks
highest in New Jersey with a score of
718 and performs particularly well in
the price, communications, corporate
citizenship and customer service
factors.
New York. Agway Energy ranks
highest in New York with a score of 659
and performs particularly well in the
communications, corporate citizenship
and customer service factors.
Ohio. Direct Energy ranks highest in
Ohio with a score of 659 and performs
particularly well in the communications factor.

Pennsylvania. Ambit Energy ranks


highest in Pennsylvania with a score of
718 and performs particularly well in
the communications factor.
Texas. Green Mountain Energy ranks
highest in Texas with a score of 762
and performs particularly well in the
corporate citizenship factor.
The 2014 Retail Electric Provider
Residential Customer Satisfaction Study
is based on responses from 25,757
retail electric residential customers and
9,016 avoidersthose who avoided
switching providersof 82 ranked
retail electric providers in nine states
regarding their experiences with their
retail electric providers.

EYE ON THE WORLD


ABB to provide UK grid connection
for Europes largest tidal energy project
Power and automation technology group ABB has been awarded a contract by
Atlantis Resources Ltd. to provide the onshore grid connection for Phase I of the MeyGen
tidal stream project in Scotlands Pentland Firth.
The MeyGen tidal stream project is at the forefront of world marine energy development and will harvest the tidal resources of one of the most energetic maritime sites in
Europe: the strait connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea between the Orkney
Islands and the Scottish mainland.
The first 6-MW demonstration phase of the U.K.s first large-scale tidal array scheme
will see four submerged turbines installed in the Inner Pentland Firth just north of
Caithness with first power expected to be delivered by 2016.
ABB is responsible for the onshore power conversion and grid connection systems
to feed the electricity safely and reliably into the local distribution grid. ABBs project
scope includes design, engineering, supply and commissioning of the power conversion,
switchgear and transformer solution, as well as associated civil engineering and cabling
works. Major product supplies include transformers, medium-voltage switchgear and
power converters.
Studies including those by engineers from the University of Edinburgh and University
of Oxford indicate the Pentland Firths tidal stream has vast energy potential, with ocean
currents estimated at 5 meters (about 11 feet) per second; among the fastest in the
British Isles.
The initial phase of the MeyGen development has the potential to generate up to 86
MW of electricityenough power for some 42,000 homes, potentially catering to the
needs of nearly 40 percent of households in the Scottish Highlands.
Within the next 10 years, MeyGen intends to deploy up to 398 MW of offshore tidal
stream turbines in the Pentland Firth to supply clean and renewable electricity to the U.K.
National Grid.

Automation begins
with Power Meters

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September 2014 | 7
www.power-grid.com

CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / TRANSOCEAN007

CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / CHONES

NOTES

GE: MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WILLING


TO PAY $10 MORE A MONTH FOR RELIABLE GRID
GEs Digital Energy business released the
results of its Grid Resiliency Survey that
measures the U.S. publics current perception of the power grid, its experiences and
expectations.
The survey was implemented after an
active 2014 winter storm season that led
to several power outages that affected millions of Americans.
According to the survey conducted
by Harris Poll in May and June among
more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18
and older, 41 percent of Americans living east of the Mississippi River are more
willing to pay an additional $10 a month
to ensure the grid is more reliable compared with 34 percent of those living
west of the Mississippi.
The survey also found that during the
past 12 months, consumers living east of
the Mississippi experienced nearly three
times more power outages on average
than those living west of the Mississippi
(3.1 vs. 1.3).
Of all adults in the U.S. who experienced an outage, more than half (56 percent) were without power for at least one
hour during their most recent outage.
The survey results are an indicator
that consumers want to invest in technology to prevent power outages and
reduce the time it takes their local utility
to restore power, said John McDonald,
director of technical strategy and policy
development of GEs Digital Energy business. We live in an on-demand world
that depends on electricityone where
productivity, food, entertainment and
even chores can be achieved with the
touch of a button. Our appetite for
automatic is so great that millions of
American adults would be willing to pay

8 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

more on their utility bills to maintain


their electrified lifestyles.
CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS
Overall, consumers expect more value
from their utilities. Eighty-two percent
of U.S. utility customers would like their
utilities to do more to encourage energy
conservation and share ideas to improve
energy efficiency in their homes.
Meanwhile, 81 percent of utility customers expect their utilities to use more
renewable energy such as electricity produced from solar, wind and geothermal
biogas to meet their energy needs.
These findings indicate that consumers want utilities to provide more energy
conservation tips and continue to value
renewable energy as a source of clean
power.
Consumers grid expectations are not
limited to energy management. More
than half of utility customers (52 percent)
become frustrated when theyre without
electricity for an hour or less.
If a power outage occurs and consumers electronic devices are not charged,
nearly half of U.S. adults (39 percent) also
would be frustrated with the absence of
their smartphones, with laptops following
closely behind (25 percent).
DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS
As energy consumers expectations
evolve, so does the way they communicate
with utilities.
In the event of a power outage, 70
percent of U.S. adults would prefer to
communicate with their utilities digitally or online, whether calling them from
cell phones and smartphones (60 percent), sending text messages (14 percent),

contacting via utility websites (11 percent)


or sending emails (9 percent).
Conversely, 36 percent of U.S. adults
still prefer to communicate with their utilities via traditional landlines.
As our expectations for up-to-theminute data increases, consumers will
demand that utilities leverage digital
communication and social media tools
to keep them informed in real time,
McDonald said. To meet this growing
demand, domestic and global utilities
have an opportunity to partner with consumers to better understand how their
digital lifestyles are shaping their energy
consumption habits.
CONSUMER CONCERNS
In looking at the root cause of power
outages, 50 percent of U.S. adults believe
natural disasters and weather-related
events are the greatest threat to the U.S.
power grid.
This threat is most evident for those
in the Northeast, with 61 percent of U.S.
adults in this region claiming weather as
the greatest threat to the grid compared
with 48 percent in the South and Midwest
and 43 percent in the West.
Natural disasters such as Superstorm
Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the recent
polar vortices highlighted the challenges
utilities face providing power to meet
high energy demand, McDonald said.
They also revealed the reliability challenges utilities experience when the U.S.
electrical grid is under extreme stress.
With summer season underwayand
the potential tornados, droughts and
hurricanes that come with itutilities
should ask themselves if they are any
more prepared to handle this stress.

BY JEFFERY L. JUERGENS, NEWPARK MATS & INTEGRATED SERVICES

CA S E S T U DY

UK Utility Protects Linemen,


Environment With New EPZ Mats

or an ongoing large-scale project near


the town of Bala in North Wales, a
major U.K. utility tapped two contractors
to refurbish miles of power lines in an
environmentally sensitive area.
The contractors needed remote access
to the transmission towers in ancient peat
bogs and moorlandsareas designated
Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a conservation status granted to protected areas
in the U.K. In addition to the sensitive
flora within the bogs and moors, the

CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / STEVEMEESE

The matting system


has been used
worldwide, but the
Bala project was the
frst time the mats did
double duty as an EPZ.
area is native to an endangered species of
snake, the adder, whose hibernation sites
have been threatened by encroachment in
recent years. Operations in the area must
be taken with great care to protect the
overall habitat.
Operating in Wales challenges utilities
logistically for other reasons, too. The
regions notoriously narrow lanes pose
problems for trucks. There are also farmland and pastureland needs, and local
farmers are concerned about how projects
will leave the land.
In addition, U.K. utilities typically work
with only one side of the transmission line
de-energized, and they must safeguard
against potential hazards such as static or
magnetic induction, along with accidental
energization or atmospheric conditions

that could lead to lightning strikes or static


discharge.
Utilities typically use aluminum mats
to create an equipotential zone (EPZ)
at ground level to maintain a common
potential between workers and equipment. The object of this measure, also
known as bonding, is to minimize the
potential difference and risk of harmful
shock currents.
Unfortunately, these aluminum equipotential mats are not well-suited for environmentally sensitive terrain, and they
pose a security concern
because they are prone
to theft by scrap metal
New
thieves.

is a tough, field-proven system used to


perform line upgrades, repair storm damage and conduct routine maintenance. The
mats quickly interlock using a patented
twist-lock feature on all four sides, distributing weight and eliminating differential
movement in rugged terrain. Each mats
nonslip, advanced-composite formulation
is tested to withstand loads up to 600
pounds per square inch and can support
heavy equipment such as excavators and
cranes. The mats also weigh half as much

Generation of Outdoor
Sensing Solutions

GETTING THE
JOB DONE
The utilitys power line
repairs were planned to
run from April through
October in the Bala
countryside. To get the
job done with minimal
impact to the surrounding protected environment, the contractors
selected the Dura-Base
Advanced-Composite
Matting System by
Newpark
Mats
&
Integrated Services.
Originally developed
for the soft-soil conditions found around the
gulf, the matting system

Pole Mount Transformer Monitoring


Overhead/Underground Fault Monitoring
Remote Terminal Unit of Distributed system
Sub-Metering & Monitoring Accurate Measurement
ESS(Energy Storage System)
Building Energy Management System(BEMS)
Factory Energy Management System(FEMS)
Digital Fault Recorder for Power & Sub-station
Electrical Vehicle(EV) & EV Charging Station

Pole-Proble Rogowski Coil

Outdoor Split-Core CT

Clamp-on Rogowski Coil

Flexible Rogowski Coil

Outdoor Solid typed CT


with voltage measurement

Split Core CT

Tel: 847.299.5182 Fax: 847.965.3336


salesusa@taehwatrans.com
www.taehwatrans.com

Go to www.pgi.hotims.com for more information.

September 2014 | 9
www.power-grid.com

NOTES
as wooden alternatives, which means
more mats can be transferred per truck
load. The mats also protect the ground and
add stability. And because they are highly
mobile and easy to install, the mats can
be moved rapidly and leapfrogged from
site to site.
The matting system has been used
worldwide throughout the oil and gas,
utility, pipeline and petrochemical industries to construct temporary roadways
and work site platforms. The Bala project, however, was the first time the mats
included the feature that allows the system
to do double duty as an EPZ, protecting

linemen in the field from electrical hazards.


Each EPZ component is fashioned from
a single Dura-Base Advanced-Composite
Mat retrofitted with a specially designed
metallic mesh that equalizes the electrical
potential of equipment and personnel on
the mat, reducing the chance of discharge.
Once the mats have been installed, a
copper braid is run between them to provide the cross-panel electrical connectivity
that ensures all items situated on the mat
rise to the same potential following a fault.
In the event of a fault, the current flows
across the surface of the mats and ground

to the earth, protecting everyone atop


the work surface. Dura-Bases AdvancedComposite formulation also contains an
anti-static additive that dissipates static
charge.
The EPZ mats gave the contractors the
best of both worlds: an equipotential mat,
along with ground protection in environmentally sensitive areas, all in a package
that locks together and is secure enough
to discourage aluminum thieves. The EPZ
feature was a core factor in the contractors
decision to use Dura-Base.

Sept. 23 - 25, 2014


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A Group CBS Company

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10 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

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CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / PASHABO

BY MIKE GUYTON, ONCOR ELECTRIC DELIVERY

n our old guise as a mid-century


electric utility, we knew Oncor was
getting by. We were proud of our 132year history serving Texas. Thousands
of dedicated employees carved out a
hard-won legacy of reliable service for
our customers; however, we also knew
it was time to shed the one-size-fits-all
mindset common in the industry. We
needed a facelift.
With that frank self-assessment in
mind, we tightened up and sharpened
our focus, operations and customer service. We are working to make a growing
system better, faster and smarter. We
want to solve problems before customers even know they exist. Oncor is a big
operator in a heavily regulated business,

and sometimes our customers needs


have changed more quickly than our
industrys traditional standards of service.
To be candid, we were not always ready
or able to recognize, meet and exceed
these expectations. That mindset led to
outdated infrastructure and customer
satisfaction numbers that did not always
pass muster.
Today, were breaking these old molds.
As we invest in new technology, we are
becoming a different companyone that
acts as a trusted adviser for consumers.
Changing the way we do business is
exciting, but its not easy. Change rarely
is, especially in our industry.
One person helps put a human face
to this shift in culture, operations and
mindset at our company today: a proud
Texas native and Oncor customer

named Ellen.
Ellen grew up in our service area,
and her parents did, too. She can recall
as a young girl her parents surprise at
the monthly electric bill and the Texas
winter storms that made their power go
out. In those days, her parents might
have pulled out the phone book to look
up our number and dialed using a rotary
telephone, which, youll remember, still
worked during outages. They probably
took turns waiting on hold to report
it, and I bet they might have had some
choice words for us as they waited.
Once the report was made, her parents didnt know when power would be
restored. They probably ate takeout by
Mike Guyton is senior vice president
and chief customer officer for Oncor
with system responsibility for customer
operations including communications,
community relations and customer and
market operations.

September 2014 | 11
www.power-grid.com

candlelight and used some extra blankets


at night to stay warm. At some point
the power would return, and life would
resume to normal.
Today, Ellen is a mom and doctor
with her own practice. She has time and
responsibility constraints that she never
saw growing up, and she needs access
to electric power information, tools and
customer service that her parents never
were offered. She doesnt have a rotary
phoneor even a home phone. She has
a smartphone with access to Facebook
and Twitter, and with that shes more
plugged in than her parents ever were.
After learning about Ellens needs and the
needs of thousands of customers like her,
were giving ourselves a jolt and working to become a better, more responsive
company.
HOW WERE CHANGING
For the past five years we have invested
more than $1 billion annually in our grid,
installing new equipment and substantially improving technology. This commitment has paid off, and we will continue
this infrastructure investment for at least
the next five years. But to meet the needs
of customers like Ellen, we must improve

12 | September 2014
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more than our technology; we need to


change our culture.
This is why Ive asked our teams in the
field who interact with customers every
day to talk to those customers. Their
assignment: Bridge the gap between how
things were and how things need to be. It
seems basic, but this is a dramatic change
for a regulated company such as ours. For
years we talked at our customers but left
a lot of their suggestions in the comment
box. Now, with those teams in the field
and some exciting new forays weve made
into social media, we are better able to
hear and respond to customer feedback.
We are using these new opportunities to
open two-way, substantive conversations
that dont stop. Its not easy. Sometimes
we hear things that are uncomfortable or
hard to listen to, and sometimes we communicate in ways that are new to us and
our employees.
Our responsibility as a utility, however,
is to engage with customers, share insights
and improve our company. Its the only
long-term solution thats sustainable.
HOW WERE ACHIEVING
ENGAGEMENT
Apart from improving our use of social
media, one way we use the Internet
to engage more with our customers is
through two websites.
One of them, SmartMeterTexas.com,
provides energy use data from advanced
meters in 15-minute increments. All
our customers have to do is create

an account using information on their


electric bills to get a detailed glimpse
of their energy use before they get an
unwelcome surprise in their monthly
bills. Access to this type of information
puts customers in control of their electricity use. They can monitor electricity
usage in real timewatch the usage
climb when the kids come home from
school or when they turn on the heat,
air conditioning or oven.
On the TakeaLoadOffTexas.com website, we provide access to tools and
programs to educate consumers about
energy efficiency in their communities.
These programs help residential consumers, business owners and government and educational facilities jumpstart their energy efficiency efforts.
Since 2002, these programs have
spent more than $542 million and
helped customers reduce 1,152 MW of
peak demand while saving more than
2.7 million MWh.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
These two new user-centered websites are important, but they only cover
good news:how to save money and use
energy more efficiently.
To keep sharpening our culture
change, we must respond to all customer concerns all the time, especially
when customers lose power.
Weve started responding to outages
and problems through social media
because conversations about us occur

whether were there or not.


It also allows us to have one-onone conversations with customers; to
respond to them as needed; and, when
possible, to educate them. It allows us
to be part of big conversations early.
We know social media posts sometimes
drive the news cycle, too, so this gives
us an early warning.
For example, during a multiday
December storm, we posted or tweeted
information more than 60 times, were
mentioned in more than 9,000 social
media conversations and privately
responded to more than 650 people
with updates on their particular
situations.
All of those conversations werent
positive, but we know that trusted
advisers engage with customers through
their positive and negative experiences.
Doing this also gives us greater visibility
when we assess our operational challenges. During that storm, a customers
social media comment alerted us to an
issue with our Text Oncor program,
which allows customers to communicate directly with our company about
outages. That comment gave us a threehour jump on the problem.
By the time the news media became
aware of the issue, we had a solution.
Not everyone embraces new technology, though. We understand and want
to accommodate that. Customers communicate differently. Some have the
equivalent of the old rotary phone, and

some dont even use phones anymore


because they rely on the Internet. Its
up to us to find and engage them on
their terms.
Oncors push into social media also has
given us the opportunity to launch some
creative thought leadership initiatives.
For example, on Sunday, Oct. 27,
the National Geographic Channel aired
American Blackout, a fictional movie
about a national power failure caused by
a cyberattack. Oncor Communications
saw the film as an opportunity to educate our social media audience, promote goodwill with our customers and
position Oncor and our executives as
engaged leaders.
Our American Blackout social
media campaign focused on live tweeting during the movie with three main
components:
Facts and information. To educate
our Twitter followers, we tweeted facts
and information about what the movie
was portraying, including correcting
movie points that we deemed inaccurate.
Expert commentary. During the
movie, we filmed, posted to YouTube
and tweeted brief videos of Oncor
subject matter experts reacting to what
they had just seen in the moviesimilar to sports commentators or expert
analysis during a History Channel show.
Humor. American Blackout had
some farfetched scenarios, such as cell
phones with enough battery power

to capture the 10-day blackout. So


we occasionally tweeted funny remarks
and comments on some ridiculous
aspects of the film. Humor is a powerful communications tool, and brands
that use it wisely benefit from positive
customer sentiment.
Social media is helping us open and
maintain dialogues with customers and
respond to their concerns. But dialogue
isnt enough. Responding isnt enough.
If we want to implement those culture
changes fully, we must act, too. We
must ask ourselves, Whats the next
big innovation that we can give to our
customers?
As every good company should recognize, we dont have all the answers.
But if we listen, we will find them.
Thats why were investing in technology and asking our customers what
they want. Our goal is fundamental:
Come to a solution together and work
toward putting the fix in place.
Just as Ellen let us know how our old
one-size-fits-all style of doing things
didnt fit her needs, we hope more customers will let us know what works and
doesnt work for them. That way, we
can grow in the direction they want.

September 2014 | 13
www.power-grid.com

Beyond Asset Mapping

Three More Ways


to Leverage Your GIS
BY MATT CROOKS, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC

geographic information system


(GIS) is the backbone of many
utilities: It provides a central repository
for asset and network data, immediate
updates on assets conditions, as well
as the ability to track, manage and
analyze infrastructure. With it, a utility
has unprecedented visibility into its
network and the ability to record data
far more quickly than was possible with
paper maps and charts that traditionally
were used to manage assets.
As valuable as these capabilities are,
a GIS can be leveraged far beyond the

14 | September 2014

www.power-grid.com

straightforward tracking and managing


of assets. A utility may be poised to
strengthen other areas of its business
with this same tool, heightening
efficiencies and optimizing operations
in new ways. There are three areas in
which expanding the use of a GIS will
reap even more benefits and further
lower the total cost of ownership of the
platform.
SHARE KNOWLEDGE ACROSS
THE ORGANIZATION
Traditionally, utilities rely on a group

of geospatial experts to manage and


maintain a GIS. This group of people
understand mapping and how a GIS
operates, giving a utility the power of
a single system of record to ensure an
accurate view of the network at any
given time. If that network big picture
is locked inside the GIS, the utility
isnt getting everything it could from
Matthew Crooks is a technical product
manager at Schneider Electric. He guides
development of the ArcFM product and many
of its extensions and works with customers to
develop gas, water and electric solutions.

CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / NOSIK


IKK

that data. This is where Web maps


can help get the right information
into the hands of those who need it
without requiring them to become
GIS gurus.
A utilitys GIS group can publish
maps and make them available
internally via a Web browser. Web
maps that leverage geospatial
data can be used to inform
decisions, improve customer
satisfaction and support a wide
variety of tasks. For example,
Web maps that display
historical data about outages
in the network can be shared
throughout the utility. Control
room operators can use this
information to optimize how
the network is maintained.
Utilities also can use maps
to communicate with
customers. For example, a
map that highlights failover
measures taken to protect
a critical customer, such
as a hospital, helps build
consumer confidence.
Geospatial information
can be leveraged across
the organization for
various purposes. Using Web maps
makes it easy to share information
in lightweight, easily deployed and
intuitive formats. Employees across the
company can access what they need
without extensive or any GIS training.
PLANNING AN EXPANSION
As a utility grows, a GIS can be
used for asset planning and expansion.
Many utilities likely already are adding
new assets to the GIS, which makes
it especially useful for recording what
has taken place. It also can be helpful

earlier in the process by centralizing the The GIS platform can show the phase
data considered and used for a utilitys and voltage, as well as how the voltage
growth.
changes down to the meter. A network
Robust GIS tools can help develop management tool can even display
hypothetical situations to consider as a changes downstream. For example, if
utility executes expansion planning. With the power source were to be shut off at
a design tool integrated with the GIS, point A, the GIS would show everything
there is the added ability to create, control downstream of that source that would
and manage multiple design versions, lose power. This ability to display the
work requests and input from multiple consequences of potential network
employees. In addition,
changes
eliminates
If the power
a utility can view, query
guesswork and shortens
source were
and edit designs without
the
planning
time
to be shut
copying files on the
around asset expansion.
off at point
network. By interactively
When various stages of
A,
the
GIS
designing directly in
the planning process can
would show
the GIS, adding assets
be modeled directly in
everything
hypothetically to perform a
the GIS using design and
downstream
cost estimation or network
network management
of that source
analysis helps ensure
tools,
work
flows
that would
the utility understands
and applications are
lose power.
the impact of the build
simplified, decreasing
on its network. Once these assets are the likelihood that information might
constructed and established in the field, be lost during staff turnover. This
you can convert the infrastructure in the makes GIS a database of real-time asset
GIS to as built, and they become part of information, as well as a critical tool
the system of record.
for future planning and potential asset
In addition, a GIS design tool takes information.
into consideration site conditions,
design parameters and exclusion zones. MANAGING FIELD TEAMS
These capabilities ensure the best design
One of the most important tools
and help reduce costs and avoid excess for a field crew is the transmission
material use. The ability to plot the future and sharing of real-time, secure data.
of a utility with the GIS platform can The process traditionally has been slow
revolutionize the process, making the and time-consuming, thanks to spotty
outcomes more efficient and accurate. network connections and the number
A typical GIS will maintain a generic of steps required to communicate with
electric network model. For instance, the home office. Regardless of the
it will show that points A and B are reason, how quickly and reliably that
connected through line C. But a GIS data is gathered can mean the difference
network management tool gives a much between a disjointed field crew with
deeper understanding of a networks unclear expectations and an optimized
connectivity, giving the utility the ability teams confidentially moving from one
to model scenarios and reduce the time project to the next.
and effort around expansion planning.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

September 2014 | 15
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CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / VTUPINAMBA

BY KIM GETGEN, TOLLGRADE COMMUNICATIONS

uring the past decade, Brazils economic boom has spurred a major
transition in its energy needs.
With easier access to credit and millions of households growing Brazils
middle class, the country finds itself
among the worlds top 10 consumers of
cars and personal computers.
All of this consumerism is good for
the economy, but it is increasing electricity demand.
Brazil is predicted to add 6,000 MW
of capacity every year just to keep pace
with the new demand.
Brazils mega utilities already are
some of the largest and cleanest compared with their U.S. and European
counterparts.
For example, Electrobras is the 10thlargest and fourth-cleanest power utility
in the world.
Meeting demand, however, is only
half the battle. Keeping the lights on
and restoring power as fast as possible
are equally important.
This is never easy in a country that has
one of the worlds largest highway systems
and worst traffic where fewer than 15 percent of roads are paved.

16 | September 2014
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Fighting difficult terrain and traffic and


trying not to let extreme weather get the
best of line crews are many of the key
reasons Brazil is turning to new technology that can lessen drive times while still
improving reliability. It should come as
no surprise that these mega utilities are
the trendsetters when it comes to grid
modernization. Brazil plans to make smart
grid investments of $36.6 billion by 2022,
according to the Northeast Group.
Many utilities are turning to the new
breed of smart grid sensors that allows
them to receive real-time information
about grid conditions where they remain
most blind: the millions of miles of largely
unmonitored feeder networks that connect cities and stretch into rural Brazil.
With this real-time sensor data, many
Brazilian utilities find they can be armed
with the data they need to improve reliability dramatically and, in some cases,
prevent outages at a fraction of the cost of
other technologies.
TOP 5 ADVANTAGES
OF SMART GRID SENSORS
Smart grid sensors offer many advantages. The following are the top five reasons

smart grid sensors have been a good fit in


Brazil, which can help other utilities weigh
the decision or evaluation criteria in making such an investment:
1. Sensors are lightweight, affordable
and easy to install.
Smart grid sensors offer the perfect
retrofit solution for improving reliability because they are extremely lightweight
(often weighing about 5 pounds) and can
be installed easily on power lines. Some of
the most advanced sensors have clamp-on
designs that require crews to use a hotstick only once. The sensors are so safe that
there is no need to take an outage during
Kim Getgen is vice president of marketing
at Tollgrade Communications. Before joining
Tollgrade, she worked as a marketing
executive for smart metering company
Echelon Corp. and cybersecurity companies
including a venture-backed start-up she
co-founded, which was later acquired by
McAfee. Getgen received a Bachelor of Arts
from Wake Forest University and an M.Phil
in International Development Studies from
Oxford. Reach her at kgetgen@tollgrade.com.

an installation, and they can be on the line and is a big breakthrough in the reduction
in less than five minutes.
of O&M expenses. Better yet, the new
breed of smart grid sensors
In addition, smart grid
sensors are affordablea
are software-defined and
Although
fraction of the cost of other
can be remotely programmost smart
mable over the air, meansmart grid technologies
grid sensors
such as smart reclosers and
ing key parameter settings
cannot
can be changed and firmsmart switches. Although
offer full
most smart grid sensors
ware can be upgraded;
automation,
cannot offer full automautilities can take advantage
they can give
fault location.
tionthey can only moniof new features long after
torthey can give the fault
sensors have been hung on
location. Some sensors can send all vital the line. This maximizes their worth and
information before an outage, allowing delivers a low-risk, future-proof investsome utilities to take measures first (see ment.
more about this in No. 5). This is what
3. Reliable, flexible communications
many Brazilian utilities need to improve are a reality.
reliability dramatically, shorten drive times
Many communications options exist
and stretch their capital investments fur- when considering a smart sensor solution.
ther across their large network footprints.
Many sensors provide integrated commu2. The latest generation of smart grid nication options with various Wi-Fi and
sensors are battery-free, so there is no
maintenance.
The new breed of smart grid sensors
are inductively powered, meaning they
require no batteries to be operational.
Prior to these new sensors, batteries
or even solar panels were used as
the power supplies, and that
required utilities to send field
crews to the sensors after
they were installed to
replace batteries or fix
solar panels. Batteryfree means 100 percent maintenance-free

cellular coverage options. Many smart grid


sensors can work on advanced metering
infrastructure (AMI) backbones such as
those provided by Silver Spring Networks
or Tropos so utilities with smart meter
investments can leverage them further.
4. Smart grid sensors deliver the fault
location so crews can restore power
faster.
Most smart grid sensors can detect and
locate faults in two ways: circuit segmentation and distance to fault estimation. Some
utilities have a preferred method, but both
approaches allow power to be restored
faster.
A. Circuit segmentation. Some utilities
segment or sectionalize their circuits
with sensors. When a fault occurs,
it is captured by all smart grid sensors on that circuit. The centralized
sensor software receives all fault and

September 2014 | 17
www.power-grid.com

outage notifications on the circuit,


analyzes them and notifies the crew
of the fault location via email or text
or via DNP3 messages to other backoffice systems (supervisory control
and data acquisition, energy management system, historian, etc.) in
near real time. When multiple sensors are deployed on a circuit, only
the sensors closest to the fault are
reported. Some advanced sensor
packages include Google Maps so
they can plot the outage on the map
and crews can plan the safest route,
use the best roads and avoid the
most traffic.
B. Distance to fault estimation. Some
utilities prefer to use the RMS fault
current measurements from smart
grid sensors with their circuit impedance models. When a fault occurs
on a circuit, sensors report the phase
or phases affected and the RMS fault
current. If control center operators
have access to impedance models
for the circuit (individual spreadsheets integrated with DMS or other
tools) and circuit maps, dispatchers
can identify one or more candidate
locations for crews to investigate. If
multiple fault locations are possible,
dispatchers might be able to identify
specific candidate locations based on
customer outage calls, smart meter
notifications and downstream sensors notifications.
Regardless of their desired approaches, utilities should look for smart
grid sensors that can email or text

18 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

notifications with the


following information:
Event type: permanent fault, momentary fault, power off, power on;
Timestamp;
Substation/circuit/phase (multiple
phase events may be reported together or independently);
Fault current magnitude (configurable to report RMS or peak current); and
Sensors logical and GPS location.
5. Smart grid sensors can help utilities
prevent the next outage.
There is a new breed of smart grid sensor that can provide sophisticated waveform analysis of disturbances and grid
events to review disturbances on the grid
continuously and keep a watchful eye to

indications of anomalous behavior that


might be early indications of future failures. Having this level of analysis makes
it possible to filter nonevents that have
been notorious in tripping earlier sensor
technologies such as fault circuit indicators
(FCIs), tricking them into reporting faults
although no power outage exists.
Events that can be detected by smart grid
sensors to help prevent outages include:
Failing underground cables;
Blown capacitor bank fuses;
Blown fuses from vegetation, animal
disturbances or both;
Improper coordination of circuit protection timing;
Slack span faults; and
Disturbances from trees or vegetation growth.

WAVEFORMS CAPTURED BY A SMART


GRID SENSOR INDICATING A FAILING
UNDERGROUND CABLE

spot specific patterns or abnormalities.


Several seconds of waveform samples from
each disturbance can be analyzed. These
predictive grid analytics packages can evaluate parameters such as the disturbance
surge magnitude, number of surge cycles,
rate of decay of surge, and pre- and postdisturbance load levels. Analytics rules
can be defined to filter out disturbances
resulting from standard network operations (e.g., load switching events), as well
as to alert network operators to inefficient
operating conditions, system failures or

FIELD DEPLOYMENT:
TOP 3 LESSONS LEARNED
One of Brazils leading utilities deployed
Tollgrade LightHouse Smart Grid Sensors
to improve its network reliability. The
solution helped the utility monitor load,
identify emergency load levels and help
pinpoint outages to reduce drive times
in hazardous conditions. The Tollgrade
LightHouse Smart Grid Sensors were the
first to receive homologation certification
and be approved for use by the Brazilian
government.

The field deployment yielded lessons


that highlight the value of real-time monitoring to restore power faster and, in some
cases, prevent outages.
1. Outage avoidance. During the
deployment, sensors determined circuits
that were significantly overloaded and
coincided with outages. By configuring
high-current alarms for these circuits,
engineers can respond to overloaded conditions as they happen before they lead
to outages. Sensors detected a series of
momentary outages on one phase of a
circuit over a week. Shortly after, a permanent outage took nearly 24 hours to
repair. Now, the utility can monitor this
circuit for frequent momentary faults so
crews can investigate and resolve problems before an outage.
2. Restore power faster. Sensors

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 :

detected an outage on some circuits and


detected the faults on Google Maps to help
crews get to fault locations and restore
power faster.
3. Load monitoring. Sensors monitored the load of the circuits to see
emergency overloading and if phases
were in balance. The utility quickly
pinpointed what circuits were out of
balance so it could redistribute loads to
free up additional capacity and reduce
technical line losses.
CONCLUSION
Brazil will be a trendsetter for developing useful cases for the advancement
of smart grid sensors. The first deployments in Brazil already show this affordable technology can improve reliability.
When it comes to making the smart grid

sensor investment, look for solutions


that are: battery-free, software-defined
and flexible in their communications
options so you are not hit with hidden
O&M expenses over the lifetime of the
deployment.
Reliability is being improved because
sensors pinpoint outages and can help
utilities avoid outages. By monitoring
networks for faults that are the precursors of outages, utilities can prevent outages. Most smart grid sensors have built
a value proposition around delivering
better fault location, but utilities should
consider the impact predictive grid analytics could have on their networks.
The more utilities that can prevent, the
more reliability can improve and the less
crews drive to restore power in treacherous terrains and bad conditions.

Beyond Asset Mapping Three More Ways to Leverage Your GIS

A GIS system on a mobile device can


maximize a field-workers time out on
the job as he or she receives new work
orders without having to return to the
dispatch office. The field team can be
as mobile as possible while accessing
the most up-to-date information. For
instance, a utility can provide workers
with the same GIS system upon which
the rest of the enterprise depends. In
other words, a single, spatially aware
source can talk to other systems and
provide data synchronization that is
fast, transparent and that users can
take to the field. This ensures everyone
is working from the latest version of
reality and can communicate with the
home office regarding additional projects, unexpected challenges and the
status of assets.
A GIS system can optimize talent

further by leveraging cross-functional


workers. For example, the back office
can use this data exchange to send a
field-worker additional tasks after it sees
that the first one is completed. Rather
than going out and simply completing
one task, the worker can do several
more projects as they arise. Or, if an outage is detected, crews already in the area
can be dispatched to address problems
and improve customer satisfaction with
faster response times.
As a worker completes a task or
repair, he or she can submit that data to
the GIS platform from a mobile device.
This saves the back office the time it
takes to enter information from handwritten paperwork and helps build a
more accurate and detailed knowledge
base around repairs. In a future scenario
when severe weather is on the horizon,

operators can predict damage better


because they have a record of what
has been installed where and previous
repairs that might have helped harden
that area to oncoming weather. This
informs better decision-making for prioritizing damage assessment activities.
MOVE BEYOND MANAGEMENT
A GIS platform is a key tool for any
modern utility, but chances are good that
many are not using the solution to its fullest. A record of asset inventory and the
real-time management of those assets are
important, but leveraging a GIS beyond
the basics to help with getting intuitive
data into the hands of those who need it,
expansion planning and execution, and
enhancing the productivity and accuracy
of the field team will set new standards of
responsiveness and customer service.

September 2014 | 19
www.power-grid.com

Makes
Smart
LTEMetering Even
Smarter
I
BY ERAN ESHED, ALTAIR SEMICONDUCTOR

n a world where everything is


becoming smart, from smartphones
and smart watches to smart homes and
smart cities, having metering systems
that require on-site readings by technicians is pass and inefficient.
Thats why utilities were among the
first vertical markets to implement
machine-to-machine (M2M) communications solutions, leading us to today,
where we are seeing a shift toward
smart metering systems. Regulation
supports this initiative. The EU Third
Internal Energy Package (IME 3), for
example, required member states to
perform a cost-benefit analysis of smart
meter rollout by September 2012.
Where positive, member states were to
prepare a timetable to implement smart
metering systems with at least 80% of
consumers attached to smart electricity
metering systems by 2020. These regulations are being followed by countries
such as the U.K., where the Smart Meter
Implementation Programme has been
put in place.

20 | September 2014
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Machina Research projects there will


be some 400 million smart meter connections by 2022.
What makes meters smart is not an
advanced hardware design or extraordinary software functionality; it is their
ability to operate in a grid and be controlled by smart central intelligencein
other words, connectivity to the cloud.
This makes Internet connection one of
the most fundamental features of smart
meters, and it must be secure, robust
and long-lasting. For these reasons, 4G
LTE is a uniquely suited connectivity
technology for smart meters.
Although the initial investment to
convert conventional meters to smart
meters is high, the return on investment
(ROI) from the improved efficiencies
gained by utilities and energy distribution service providers, together with the
advanced and monetizable services that
Eran Eshed is co-founder and vice
president of marketing and business
development for Altair Semiconductor, a
provider of single-mode LTE solutions.

CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / CUTEIMAGE

September 2014 | 21
CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / CUTEIMAGE

www.power-grid.com

these companies will offer, will justify


the investment.
THE CONSUMER ANGLE
Consumers can benefit greatly from
the two-way communication offered by
smart metering systems. Smart meters
in smart homes can communicate with
appliances within the homes, and home
appliances can benefit from the knowledge of smart meters. For example,
appliances such as an icemaker can
function only during off-peak hours of
energy use. This two-way communication enables users to be more mindful
of their energy consumption.
Utilities real-time and precise knowledge and control over individual home
and neighborhood supply points will
enable them to minimize power outage
time and provide a higher-quality and
more personalized service to consumers.
Finally, consumers also can enjoy
more precise billing because meters are
read in real time rather than bills being
prorated.
THE UTILITY ANGLE
Smart metering benefits utilities
through lower operating costs. Fewer
employees are needed for meter reading
and routine maintenance. For example,
because smart meters can provide notifications if there is a problem, personnel are sent only when needed.
In addition, old metering systems
are more susceptible to tampering and
manipulation. A utility could send a
technician to read a meter, but there
would be no clear way to know if there
had been tampering. With smart meters
this is nearly impossible, so there is a
significant decrease in energy theft.
Smart meters also offer more efficient
energy use. Two-way communication

22 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

can reduce peak consumption of energy


by shifting demand loads.

Aggregating several sensors into a


single access hub is a flexible architecture; however, it is not flawless.
THE REGULATOR/
The usage of technologies such as
GOVERNMENT ANGLE
PLC and ZigBee are not always reliable
With smart meters, regulators gain and impose physical constraints in the
more control over electricity, an expen- maximal distance between meters or
sive, important and limited resource.
between a meter and the hub. In addiWith more knowledge and control tion, the cost of the hub eventually
over smart metering systems, regulators offsets the cost upward.
can better assess and
Integrating cellular
monitor what utilities
connectivity into each
With regulator
charge users and can
meter is the simplest
initiatives, entire
ensure adequate quality
and most flat architeccountries can
of service.
ture. It provides maxiexperience
Increased knowledge
mum flexibility because
increased
of how and when enerno intermediate aggreeffciency
gy is being consumed
gation points are
and lower
can save money for conrequired. This reduces
usage, which
sumers and utilities.
cost, simplifies comcan beneft
This is because smart
munications protocols
economies.
meters increase efficienand enhances reliability
cy and can lower excess
and security.
usage.
With regulator initiatives such as CELLULAR OVERCOMES
the U.K.s Smart Meter Implementation SHORTCOMINGS OF SHORTProgramme, entire countries can expe- RANGE COMMUNICATIONS
rience increased efficiency and lower
The question then becomes, Which
usage, which can benefit economies cellular technology to use? There are
and help them become greener.
2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks, but 2G
networks are coming to the end of their
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY life cycle. AT&T Wireless and Verizon
IN SMART METERING
announced they will decommission
Two main smart metering architec- their 2G networks. As 2G networks shut
tures exist:
down, carriers will re-farm the available
1. Smart metering endpoints connect- spectrum for use in either 3G or 4G LTE
ed via technologies such as ZigBee, networks; however, carriers that are lookPower Line Communications ing for a long-term solution likely will
(PLC) or mesh architectures such choose 4G LTE for this spectrum reallocaas 6LowPAN that are connected to tion because 3G networks are inefficient
the cloud via an access hub, which and costly. Moreover, the worlds major
in most cases use cellular technol- carriers are investing heavily in 4G LTE,
ogy for access; and
so maintaining 3G networks while rolling
2. Integration of a cellular chip or mod- out 4G LTE networks is not cost-effective.
ule into each metering endpoint.
That leaves us with 4G LTE.

There are three primary market-drivers for the adoption of LTE-only in


smart metering:
1. Long-term usability;
2. Spectral efficiency; and
3. Investment of mobile network
operators.
LTE technology was designed for
long-term use. As utilities switch to
smart metering systems, they will want
a technology that will be reliable for
at least the next decade. Smart meters
with LTE chips or modules will be
effective well into the 2020s.
Because M2M applications such as
smart metering require smaller amounts
of data transmission, LTE offers much
better spectral efficiency, meaning many
more smart meter endpoints can be
serviced on a given chunk of spectrum.
Finally, mobile network operators
(MNOs) have every interest in becoming major players in smart metering
connections. Given the exploding market for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, the only way for MNOs to benefit
is by providing the pipes of connection.
As such, we are seeing huge investments by MNOs in launching 4G LTE
networks.
Last year, Verizon announced that by
late 2014 it would be weaning users off
of aging 3G networks and that smartphones released by the carrier would
be compatible only with LTE networks.
This is good news for users, as well,
because an LTE-only option cuts out
royalty payments to 3G technology patent owners. Although Verizons switch
to LTE so far applies only to its mobile
users, the move to LTE only likely will
hit its M2M users eventually, as well.
And we likely will see the same trend
with other carriers worldwide.

There is also a tremendous benefit


for utilities to pass on the burden of
connectivity to MNOs or mobile virtual
network operators (MVNOs) who specialize in communication technology.
MNOs such as Telefonica, Vodafone
and AT&T already offer end-to-end
connectivity and management platforms for the utility market.
Alternatively, utilities can outsource
this task to energy management companies such as Kore Wireless and Wyless,
which offer wireless backhaul services
and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) management platforms.
These companies purchase airtime
from carriers and then offer cellular
connectivity to utilities.
The companies often receive better
rates from carriers in various countries
than utilities could negotiate on their
own.
The final piece to widespread adoption of LTE in smart metering applications is an LTE chip that is optimized
for M2M use.
This chip needs to be small with low
power and low cost to compete with
alternative technologies. With an M2M
optimized chip, the cost of integrating
these chips or modules into every smart
meter endpoint becomes negligible.
The world is shifting to smart meter
usage; however, the way these smart
meters communicate with one another,
consumers and utilities is still in process. Still, using cellular connectivity for metering, particularly 4G LTE,
makes the most sense because of its
low-cost, high-efficiency, long-term
capabilities and the backing of MNOs.
When these smart metering networks
are fully deployed with the optimal
technology, we will see the widespread
benefits for all involved.

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BY

N
PANTO
ANGUS

ROUP
, SQS G

L T D.

he utilities sector is in the vanguard


of consumer machine-to-machine
(M2M) communications, but the scale
and pace of change are challenging.
When consumer technology giant
Apple made its recent move into smarter
homes with its HomeKit announcement,
you knew something major was afoot.
The ability to control devices such as
thermostats from a smartphone will be big
business, with Apple, Google and others
unleashing a flood of apps for the utilities
market.
By 2023, two-thirds of the 30 billion
smart, wirelessly connected devices in
homes and industry worldwide will be
for utilities, recent research by Analysys
Mason shows.
Already, markets such as the U.K. are
seeing the introduction of remote and
automatic central heating controls run
from smart mobile devices, enabling consumers to manage their energy costs using
Web-based technology that has driven
so much innovation and convenience in
other areas such as mobile commerce and
social media.
For energy suppliers, empowering consumers to keep on top of their consumption using smart devices rapidly is

becoming a differentiator in the largely


commodity-based utilities market and
can provide suppliers with a potential
goldmine of marketing, consumer data,
operational opportunities and escalating
revenues.
Three players in computerized thermostats are active in the U.K.: Hive, owned
by energy giant British Gas; the Google
subsidiary Nest Labs; and German firm
tado.
Each uses mobile device apps to simplify running home central heating from
anywhere.
Functions include automatic response
to weather patterns; firing up the heating from a location app when a resident
is heading home; and learning from a
householders manual tweaks to replicate
them automatically. Meanwhile, information technology (IT) and communication giants AT&T Inc. and IBM this year
formed an alliance to develop M2M systems with a focus on utilities.
For society, the potential prize is huge
in cutting and controlling energy consumption.
British Gas estimates, for example, that
as many as 7.8 million U.K. homes are
being heated annually when no one is
home.
According to the U.K. Office of Gas

and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), residents


spend on average 1,342 pounds ($2,240)
annually on energy, with heating being
responsible for more than 60 percent of
the bill.
Evidence of savings comes from Nest
Learning Thermostat customers in the
U.S. who are experiencing average savings
of 20 percent on heating and cooling bills.
Now the company is targeting U.K. customers with similar savings opportunities.
Underpinning this new wave of home
energy technology is M2M communications amid the Internet of Things (IoT),
which poses technological and regulatory
challenges from spectrum allocation to
reliability and security.
As such, energy suppliers involvement
carries risk.
Should the security be breached or
the installation fail to fulfill claims for its
performance, then consumers might look
elsewhere for their services.
The pace of smart technologies growth
in energy will depend on combining great
functionality with ease of use and high
levels of security.
Naturally, companies want assurance
that applications they offer to the market
will work as advertised, and this technology poses particular challenges, given the
Angus Panton is director of power and
communications at software quality specialist
SQS Group Ltd.

24 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

CAN STOCK PHOTO INC. / ALEXEYBOLDIN

interconnection issues across networks, as


with any complex IT system.
SCALING UP FOR SMART METERS
Smart meter rollouts are a powerful
spur to M2M growth in the energy sector,
and governments are pressing for speedy
implementations.
Along with consumers security sensitivities, the size of the programfrom the
immense installation task to the meters
operationcarries huge potential for
positive or negative impact on consumer
acceptance of smart connected devices.
In the U.K., replacing 53 million conventional domestic power and gas meters
in some 30 million premises by 2020 will
be Britains biggest home energy technology change for more than 40 years.
A smart decision has been made in the
U.K.: A license to manage the communications infrastructure for the Smart Metering
Implementation Programme has been
granted to the Data and Communications
Co (DCC).
But there is trepidation within the
energy industry. For example, as Neil
Pennington, smart program director at
energy firm RWE npower, said recently
during an industry seminar, Testing must
be robustend-to-end across industry
parties and the DCC and in live situations.
If interoperability is not consistent and
systems and processes not failsafe, it risks
undermining consumer confidence.
In written evidence to the governments
Energy and Climate Change Committee,
RWE npower also stated, Enduring technical, end-to-end design needs to be established quickly to generate certainty and
ensure that equipment is developed and
manufactured to provide the industry with
the capability to provide 100% coverage,
in a consistent and timely manner.
The imperative to test rigorously and
promptly is clear, and it applies to the

M2M cascade that almost certainly will


follow.
Large energy suppliers must be ready
for DCC interface testing in autumn 2015.
They have huge rollout profiles that will
run to installing tens of

September 2014 | 25
www.power-grid.com

thousands of meters a week to meet the


2020 deadline.
Small energy suppliers, too, will need
to interface with the DCC by the 2020
deadline.
Even before smart metering is in play,
the installation program carries significant risk.
The need to enter homes increases
reputational risks from poor delivery.
According to consultant Ernst & Young,
With so little upside, the energy supplier
is looking carefully at the costs and risks.
QUALITY TO THE FORE
Installation will be the first big data
challenge in the smart metering program.
The task will involve upgrades in
utilities IT, including changes in enterprise resource planning systems, asset
management, job scheduling and handheld devices.
Interfaces and back-end systems will
have to be tested to ensure they can handle the load as it increases through rollout.
Much complex integration and operation acceptance testing will be required
and will need careful management.
Software quality is playing an ever
more important role in developing customer value, and the pace of change in
the energy sector puts such quality into
sharp relief.
For companies facing such major
and looming deadlines, testing must be
incorporated early in a project life cycle
because the cost and delays associated
with addressing defects found later in the
project will be high.
Adrian Tuck, vice chairman of the
ZigBee Alliance, which develops M2M
standards, counsels the energy sector to
prepare for technology-driven disruption.
I believe we are about to go through a
revolution in the energy space every bit as

26 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

big as the telecom revolution, Tuck said.


Energy sector business strategists will
differ in their interpretations of what is
needed for success in a digital utility
market.
But crucial requirements for the industry and its customers will be assured resilience and reliability in the technologies.
And customer experience needs to be
assessed equally rigorously because ease
of use can be as potent in influencing perceptions as sound performance.
The importance of assured performance
and usability in connected devices to the
development of the energy industry is a
responsibility to which the testing industry is keenly sensitive.
The IoT offers energy firms an opportunity to connect better with its customers.
For the energy sector, confidence in
smart, connected technology will be
the fuel it needs to achieve and benefit
from the pace of change the market will
demand.
TESTED AND TRIEDEXAMPLE
OF QUALITY IN ACTION
A U.K. utility venturing into the remote
energy control market with a new device
needed confidence that the product would
enhance the utilitys reputation by fulfilling customer expectations with no room
for shortfalls.
The company needed to be assured that
the device was reliable, easy to operate
and a sound reflection of its commitment
to customers.
The utility selected SQS as an independent quality partner to provide
expert advice based on its utilities sector experience and to manage the governance of testing.
Challenges. The primary requirement

was assurance that the device enhanced


the utility brand and minimized the risk
of damage to its reputation.
Unflawed continuity was crucial
between the branding on the device and
the website via which customers would
control it.
Solution. From the outset, SQS provided comprehensive reporting via a quality
barometer, which provided clarity at any
given stage in the development that the
companys requirements were being met.
Testing included:
Early exploratory testing to ensure
the system operation was intuitive
and the device was easy to use;
Engaging the utility closely during
the peak simulation exercise with
the IT infrastructure architect and
database administrators at test runs;
Repeat testing on a range of browsers along with testing on different
screens. Tests encompassed usability
and performance;
Manual testing on the prototype
version to prevent incorrect images
or missed content. This decision
reflected the intense need to ensure
all the utilitys aims were met, particularly its expectations for the devices
usability and consistent branding;
and
Nonfunctional tests, which included
failover and disaster recovery with a
top priority to ensure user settings
were preserved in either instance.
The utility had confidence that the
device would provide customers with a
reliable, resilient service and be a firstrate representation of the company.

BY CATHY CHATFIELD-TAYLOR, CC-T UNLIMITED

CA S E S T U DY

The 3-D substation model enabled lightning protection modeling and visualization.

Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute


Increases Substation Design Efficiency

s an energy industry leader, the


Power Construction Corp. of
China (PowerChina) provides services
from planning, survey, design and engineering to finance, construction, installation and operation and maintenance
of hydropower, thermal power, new
energy and infrastructure projects.
PowerChina subsidiary Jiangxi
Electric Power Design Institute
(JXEPDI) delivered the 220-kV Duxiling
Substation for owner-operator China
State Grid Corp. to support economic
development and enhance the quality
of life in Jiangxi Province by improving
the electricity network and power supply reliability.
Bentley Substation provides a consolidated platform for electric substation design that enables greater collaboration within and across the physical
and electrical design disciplines, said
Chenhong Liu, of JXEPDI.

Using Bentleys substation solution,


which provided a unified environment
for structural, physical and electrical
design, the institute eliminated inconsistencies and performed concurrent
engineering. As a result, the design efficiency of the CNY 81 million substation
was significantly enhanced by avoiding
silos of data and many errors that can
occur when using separate products for
site design, physical layout and electrical systems design.
IMPROVING SUBSTATION DESIGN
JXEPDI recognized that past substation design practices were inefficient and caused duplication of effort.
Without a collaborative design process,
each design discipline (site, structural,
physical and electrical) had created its
own substation model, which led to
design inconsistencies, collision problems and rework. This work flow also

had rendered the design team unable


to provide a comprehensive substation
model for construction.
JXEPDI sought a comprehensive solution that could help accomplish substation projects more efficiently through a
collaborative design process among all
disciplines. JXEPDI routinely promotes
technological innovation and communicates with domestic and international
leaders in the field to learn from their
experience and adopt best practices.
JXEPDI adopted Bentleys substation
solution to improve collaboration, quality and efficiency and to facilitate the
transfer of a digital substation model to
construction.
Cathy Chatfield-Taylor is a freelance writer
and principal of CC-T Unlimited specializing in
trend stories, case studies and white papers
on technology solutions for the AEC industry.
Reach her at cathy@cc-tunlimited.com.

September 2014 | 27
www.power-grid.com

INTEGRATED SUBSTATION DESIGN


Bentleys substation solution is composed of integrated design, simulation and
collaboration software products that enable
all disciplines to accelerate design, improve
constructability and reduce the operating
costs of electric substations. The solution components implemented by JXEPDI
included Bentley Substation, GEOPAK
Civil Engineering Suite, Bentley Raceway
and Cable Management, ProSteel, STAAD.
Pro and AECOsim Building Designer.
Bentley Substation, the only integrated
software product for intelligent electrical and physical substation design,
supported the creation of an intelligent substation model. The designers
developed a 3-D physical layout with
wiring and sag modeling to check
clearance and spacing. From the
comprehensive 3-D physical model,
2-D schematics and 2-D construction
drawings were generated, along with
bills of material and 3-D renderings
for review by the owner.
GEOPAK Civil Engineering Suite, civil
engineering and road design software for designing and sustaining
infrastructure, enabled the generation
of the digital terrain model using
topographic data from a site survey.
The software supported the design of
roads and calculation of cut-and-fill
quantities. The complete site model
was exported for use by the structural
and physical design disciplines.
JXEPDI used Bentley Raceway and
Cable Management to execute efficient layout, routing and material
quantities for raceways, cable trays,
conduits and cables.
ProSteel was used for the structural
design of truss work, gantries and
other support structures for electrical
equipment, conductors and cables, as

28 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

Project Summary
ORGANIZATION
POWERCHINA, Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute
SOLUTION
Utility Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure
LOCATION
Pingxiang, Jiangxi, China
PROJECT OBJECTIVE
Design and deliver the 220-kV Duxiling Substation.
Improve design quality and efficiency by implementing a unified,
multidisciplined, collaborative design environment.
Deliver an intelligent digital substation model for construction and
operations.
PRODUCTS USED
AECOsim Building Designer, Bentley i-model Composer, Bentley
Navigator, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, Bentley
Substation, GEOPAK Civil Engineering Suite, MicroStation,
ProjectWise, ProSteel, STAAD.Pro
FAST FACTS
JXEPDI implemented Bentleys substation solution comprising
integrated design, simulation and collaboration software.
The solution enabled collaborative and concurrent design within and
among disciplines.
ProjectWise enabled all disciplines to work simultaneously and have
timely access to one anothers design work.
ROI
Substation design efficiency increased some 30 percent.
Project quality was increased by eliminating errors and
inconsistencies across disciplines.
The comprehensive digital substation model will deliver ongoing
efficiencies across the life cycle of the substation infrastructure.
well as the structural design of control
and switch house buildings on-site.
JXEPDI used STAAD.Pro, which integrated seamlessly with ProSteel, for
advanced analysis and design of support structures.
Starting with the structural models
developed in ProSteel for consistency, JXEPDI used AECOsim Building
Designer to construct a single model

for the on-site control and switch


houses, encompassing architectural,
structural, mechanical and electrical
systems design, construction documentation and 3-D visualization.
PROJECT COLLABORATION
ENVIRONMENT
JXEPDI also implemented ProjectWise,
Bentleys project collaboration and

Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute Duxiling Substation

information management software for the


design and construction of architecture,
engineering, construction and operations
projects. Used for multidiscipline collaborative design and results sharing, the software unified the design team with a single
source of truth for models and analysis created using the various design applications.
The standardized working environment, engineering data and project information were all hosted on a dedicated
ProjectWise server. With ProjectWises
directory management and permissions
controls, appropriate read, write and other
access permissions were set up according
to project team members needs.
INCREASED QUALITY, EFFICIENCY
THROUGH CONCURRENT
ENGINEERING
Although JXEPDI gained independent
productivity and quality benefits from
each software application for substation

design, the biggest gains in efficiency SUBSTATION SOLUTION


and quality arose from the collabora- ENABLES FASTER DESIGN
tion enabled by ProjectWise. Having the
Bentleys substation solution allowed
entire substation design process in a uni- JXEPDI to achieve concurrent, streamfied environment improved work quality lined work flows that improved quality
and efficiency within and across disci- and increased substation design effiplines. Hosting all project
ciency some 30 perinformation on a dedicent.
The
substation
cated server enabled sharStakeholder comsolution
ing of up-to-date models
munications improved
helped JXEPDI
across disciplines (e.g.,
because of the ability
between structural and
to deliver an integratincrease
building with ProSteel,
ed 3-D visualization
substation
STAAD.Pro and AECOsim
of the civil, structural
design
Building Designer), elimiand electrical design in
effency some
nating work duplication
the context of the sur30 percent.
and inconsistencies. This
rounding terrain.
timely, accurate exchange
Upon project comof current project information trans- pletion, the design team delivered a
formed what was a step-by-step design comprehensive, intelligent digital subprocess into an agile, concurrent engi- station model that will improve the effineering process that shortened design ciency of operations, maintenance and
time and increased its quality.
subsequent refurbishment projects.

September 2014 | 29
www.power-grid.com

BY PETER EBERSOLD, MARMON UTILITY

CA S E S T U DY

High-voltage Underground Cable


for NY Substation Expansions
With Space Constraints

ubstation expansions can become


extremely complicated when space is
limited. Thats when high-voltage underground cable becomes a viable option.
What makes the option even more favorable is a turnkey approach in which the
high-voltage underground cable manufacturer installs the cable and terminations
then tests the cable installation and delivers
complete project documentation.
During a recent substation expansion
near Buffalo, New York, where expansion
of a substation yard and extension of an
overhead 115-kV bus was impracticable
and relocating facilities within the substation was expensive and time-consuming,
Seymour, Connecticut,-based Kerite Co.
provided turnkey underground cable
installation services that allowed new
capacitor banks to be installed and energized in a short time with no disruption to
other circuits in the substation.
BUFFALO-AREA PROJECT
REQUIRED NOVEL SOLUTION
NYSEG, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA,
needed to add capacitor banks to improve
the electrical system to handle load growth
in the Buffalo area. The utility, which serves
877,000 electricity customers and 261,000
natural gas customers across more than 40
percent of upstate New York, installed two
new 115-kV, 25 MVAR switched capacitor banks at Big Tree Substation, an older
facility constructed in the 1940s. The substation feeds Ralph Wilson Stadium, home
of the Buffalo Bills. New capacitor banks

30 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

were important for ensuring overall system improvements and supporting system
voltage in the area.
Consulting engineers Laramore,
Douglass and Popham designed the project. The company provides engineering
for investor-owned and cooperative utilities and works on everything from wind
farms to industrial clients. Senior substation engineer Stan Bail said that although
the Big Tree Substation seems large, it
was impossible to add both banks above
ground as is common with substation
expansions. There was a wide open space
on the south side, but the north side was
close to a fence, and a house is just outside
the fence.
We came to the conclusion that the
banks had to be underground because
transmission lines were in the way, Bail
said. We couldnt place the capacitor
banks off the existing bus because it was
35 feet in the air and there was no room to
place the capacitor banks under the existing structure.
There was room within the substation
fence, Bail said, if they could have gotten
the overhead wire bus extended to the area
where the capacitor banks would fit. But
NYSEG needed two capacitor banks and
two breakers.
Because the bus was split with one on
the north end and one on the south end,
the best solution was taking the two locations from overhead to underground. They
then ran the underground cable, coming
up at one central location, terminating

the underground cable and connecting


to two circuit breakers and two capacitor
banks. The solution is uncommon for a
substation; underground cable transmission lines are used more frequently when
an airport is nearby and it is important to
keep circuits from interfering with airport
operations.
After deciding on the engineering
approach, Bail began looking for a company that could supply the cable, terminations and testing components.
He consulted with the client about its
existing relationships with suppliers of
high-voltage underground cable, then
began discussions with Kerite, which is
Peter Ebersold is the director of market
and product development for the Kerite and
Hendrix brands at Marmon Utility, a Marmon
Engineered Wire & Cable/Berkshire Hathaway
Company. Prior to Marmon Utility, he was
a marketing director at Honeywell and a
business unit manager at Perkin-Elmer. He
started his career as an electrical design
engineer. Ebersold has bachelors and
masters degrees in engineering.

lower-voltage field testing.


Bail said the project went so smoothly
that the utility has written into its standard specifications for similar projects
that the electrical contractors must hire
Kerite for cable and terminations.
There was a great deal of cooperation between Kerite and Northline
Utilities on-site, Bail said. When you
are terminating cables, it is extremely

known for its high-voltage underground


cable and experience in recent installations.
I explained the substation project and
found it was a perfect match, Bail said.
We needed high-voltage underground
cable, and they had services to provide.
TURNKEY APPROACH
FOR CABLE RUNS
The design included a conduit system
to facilitate cable pulling from the bus area
to the capacitor bank, including a conduit
plan that showed how and where to place
the 6-inch PVC conduit, with one conduit
per cable per phase.
After the conduit system was installed,
Kerite brought the cable to the site for electrical subcontractor Northline Utilities to
do the cable pulls. Instead of working with
one large 1,300-foot reel, Kerite cut each
run individually to length on smaller reels,
which are easier to store and make pulling
individual runs much faster and simpler.
This allowed the subcontractor the flexibility of pulling one phase and leaving it if

necessary, then returning the next morning


to pull the next phase.
The northern end connection cable was
some 275 feet, and the south bus connection underground cable link was closer to
150 feet.
Each end of the connections requires
three terminations (one for each phase), so
there were 12 terminations at the substation. The terminations for the end of the
cable are 6.5 feet tall, and each termination
takes some eight hours to complete.
Because of the projects complexity, Bail
was attracted especially by the turnkey
installation services Kerite offered, including supplying the cable, doing the terminations and conducting the testing.
The testing included high-voltage
DC high potential testing at the factory to ensure no defects and additional

important to avoid any wet conditions.


Each one of the terminations took
hours of sanding and dressing the cable
after it was pulled, and Kerite needed a
shelter to keep the wind, mist and rain
off while doing the terminations.
Northline built a shelter to keep them
dry so they could keep working through
whatever conditions the weather threw
out there.
He said he plans to use Kerite for
another capacitor bank in the Rochester
area, where underground cable is needed
because there is no space to expand the
substation.
When you are limited by space,
underground high-voltage cable is a
viable option when compared to other
more expensive substation expansion
alternatives.

September 2014 | 31
www.power-grid.com

BY BERT WILLIAMS, ABB TROPOS WIRELESS COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Wireless Field-area
Networks for Smart Grid
Communications

rom the executive suite to linemen in


the field, utilities and their employees
are coming under increasing pressure
from various stakeholders.
Shareholders, regulators, politicians,
customers and consumer and environmental advocacy groups all push frequently conflicting agendas: Lower rates;
Encourage conservation; Increase earnings and dividends; Improve reliability;
Reduce emissions; Integrate renewable
generation sources; Implement net metering; Fill the imminent labor gap. These
are but a few utility challenges.
Smart grid is an overused, ill-defined
catch phrase, but the term conveys an
important concept.
Software applications installed in operation and control centers, specialized
computers and software in substations,
plus intelligent electronic devices (IEDs)
and other smart apparatuses in substations and along distribution feeders can
implement a comprehensive smart grid
application portfolio.
A smart grid portfolio can include various distribution automation applications,
including fault detection, isolation and
restoration/fault location isolation and
service restoration (FDIR/FLISR), active
volt/VAR management and conservation
voltage reduction (CVR), substation automation and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
Additional applications can be enabled
by equipping field-workers with laptops,
tablets and handheld computers.
Smart grid applications can help

32 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

utilities meet conflicting demands.


An additional component is required
to implement a smart grid system: a
two-way broadband communication network (see Figure 1). The communication
network links people and devices in the
field with software at substations and the
utilitys operations and control center,
enabling vast improvements in efficiency,
security, reliability and resiliency.
Figure 2 shows a typical utility communication network architecture and
how the communication network relates
to components of the electricity distribution system.
FIELD-AREA NETWORK
REQUIREMENTS
Field-area networks (FANs), represented by the dashed, light blue lines in Figure

2, fill the communication gap between the


core Internet Protocol (IP) network and
devices, as well as personnel, in the field.
FANs most often are implemented
with wireless networking technologies
because their large geographic coverage
areas, many connected devices and the
need to support mobile field-workers
make them technically and economically infeasible to implement using wired
technologies.
Wireless networking technologies
used in FANs include cellular, narrowband point-to-multipoint (PTMP),
broadband PTMP and broadband wireless mesh networks.
To support a portfolio of smart grid
applications, FANs must meet these
requirements:
High reliability. Communications
are most critical during outages. FANs
must operate even when events disable
the electric grid.
Ideally, the wireless network will
incorporate cognitive radio software
that can, for instance, automatically

TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION

Advanced
Control Systems

Smart Devices
Two-way
Communications

Two-way
Communications

Mobile Work Force


Two-way
Communications

route around interference, failCOMMUNICATION NETWORK ARCHITECTURE


ures and congestion. Individual
2
AND ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
communication devices must be
ruggedized, be weatherized and
Utility Data
supply battery backup.
Center
Scalable. Field-area communication networks must scale to
Substation
Substation
Core IP Network Between
cover large geographic areas
Data Center and Substations
potentially a utilitys entire service
Capacitor
territory.
Bank
They also must scale to supRecloser
port, directly or via neighborFeeder
Field-area
AMI Collector
hood-area networks (NANs),
Network
Mobile Data
millions of connected devices.
Feeder
Energy
Storage
Conversely, because utilities may
Voltage
Fiber/Licensed PTP
Device
Regulator
roll out smart grids incremen2.4/5.8 GHz
tally, FANs must be economical to
900 MHz
Nan
HAN (ZigBee)
implement on a small scale, say,
HAN (AMI System)
at a single substation or along a
single distribution feeder.
support mobility.
3); however, when the characteristics of
High performance. As IEDs and other
Multiapplication. It may seem a tautol- these technologies are compared to FAN
intelligent field devices proliferate, become ogy that a network that can support many requirements, broadband wireless mesh
smarter and gather more information, applications must offer multiapplication networks supplemented by broadband
higher-capacity networks are required support; however, supporting multiple PTMP links when needed best meet the
because more applications and devices use applications drives some specific technical requirements.
the FAN and they send and receive more requirements such as the need to provide
Broadband wireless mesh networks offer
data. Additional capacity also is required virtual local-area networks (VLANs) and the following characteristics:
to support mobile work force applications. quality of service (QoS).
Highly available. Wireless mesh netMany applications in the distribution
Flexible. To support the widest variety works provide high availability by autosystem are not latency-sensitive; however, of applications and devices, the FAN must matically selecting the best route through
the few that are, including protection and be built on industry standards such as the network from multiple radio frequency
safety applications, are critical.
TCP/UDP/IP, 802.11 (Wi-Fi) and 802.3 (RF) paths, channels and bands.
Because a unified FAN must support (Ethernet).
To withstand extremes in climate,
the requirements of all deployed applicaTo best integrate legacy field devices mesh routers are available with extended
tions, low latency is essential.
and avoid stranded assets, the FAN also
Bert Williams is director of global
Secure. Like all networks, wireless must support secure network connections
marketing
for ABB Tropos Wireless
FANs come with potential vulnerability to to devices that use serial links and autoCommunication Systems. He brings 30
cyberattacks.
mation protocols.
years of experience in leading the marketing
In IP-based FANs, this challenge can
organizations of networking companies. He
be met by implementing a multilayer, FIELD-AREA COMMUNICATION
has a Bachelor of Science with University
Honors in Electrical Engineering from
defense-in-depth security architecture NETWORK TECHNOLOGY
Carnegie Mellon and an MBA from Harvard
using enterprise tools and techniques.
CHOICES
Business School. Reach him at bert.
Mobility. Providing communications
Numerous wireless technology choices
williams@nam.abb.com.
for field crews requires that the FAN exist for implementing FANs (see Figure

September 2014 | 33
www.power-grid.com

WIRELESS FAN TECHNOLOGY CHOICES


Cellular

Narrowband
PTMP

Broadband
PTMP

3
Broadband
Mesh

Reliability
Scalability
Capacity
Latency
Security
Mobility
VLANS/QoS
Standards-based
Poor
operating temperature ranges, enhanced
wind survivability and housings fabricated using specialized alloys and plating.
Scalable. Broadband wireless mesh
networks have been proven to scale to
large coverage areas (3,000 square miles
in Abu Dhabi), massive volumes of data
(1 TB of data transferred daily in Ponca
City, Oklahoma), many machine-tomachine (M2M) endpoints (more than
1 million electricity and water meters in
Abu Dhabi) and many routers (more than
3,000 routers operating in the network in
Abu Dhabi).
Because mesh networks generally dont
require tower construction, they also can
cover small areas such as a single distribution feeder economically.
High capacity and low latency.
Broadband wireless mesh networks can
provide greater than 10 Mbps of throughput at each mesh router with latency of
less than 1 ms per mesh hop.
Secure. Broadband wireless mesh

34 | September 2014
www.power-grid.com

Best

networks can implement a multilayer,


defense-in-depth security architecture
using open security standards.
Using a multi-layer, defense-in-depth
approach with standards-based tools,
wireless mesh networks have attained
FIPS 140-2 compliance and are compatible with NERC CIP v5, NISTIR 7628 and
IEC 6235.
Mobility. Broadband wireless mesh
networks provide seamless, session-persistent roaming at vehicular speeds within
the coverage area.
Clients, including those that have
established an IPsec/VPN connection,
can move between router and IP subnets
without losing connections.
VLANs/application QoS. Broadband
wireless mesh networks support VLANs
and QoS. VLANs enable traffic from different applications and user groups to be
segregated.
Flexibilty/interoperability/open
standards. Broadband wireless mesh

networks support open standards including TCP/UDP/IP, 802.11 (Wi-Fi) and


802.3 (Ethernet). They can interoperate
with other standards-based smart grid
components. To integrate legacy field
devices and avoid stranded assets, some
mesh routers support secure network
connections to devices that use serial
links and automation protocols such as
DNP-3 and IEC 61850.
CONCLUSION
Communication networks are a key
component to smart grid implementation.
Utilities that are implementing smart grid
communication networks generally use
a multitier network architecture. Many
wireless technology choices are available
for FANs. When comparing the capabilities of these technology choices with FAN
requirements, broadband wireless mesh
networks supplemented by broadband
PTMP links when necessary provide the
best match to the requirements.

PRODUCTS
Line Locator
With Bluetooth, GPS

3-phase smart e-meter SoCs


Texas Instruments new three-

Ridgids SeekTech SR-24 Line Locator

phase

is a locating receiver that streamlines

metering

systems-on-chip

(SoC) for smart electricity meters and

the creation of accurate maps of under-

portable measurement applications,

ground utilities. The SR-24 uses integrat-

MSP430F67641, include high-performance delta-sigma

ed Bluetooth communications to trans-

analog-to-digital converters for energy measurement

mit locating data to either a third-party

products requiring high accuracy across a wide dynamic

survey-grade GPS or a mobile device such as a tablet or

range. An integrated 320-segment LCD eliminates the

smartphone. Data logging capabilities allow recording

need for external drivers and enables developers to cre-

GPS and locating data to an onboard micro SD card. In

ate the next generation of smart energy measurement

addition to OmniSeek passive locating capabilities, the

devices with detailed displays and extended language

SR-24 can be programmed to detect any active frequency

support while still maintaining low-power consumption in

from 10 Hz to 35 kHz. Its omnidirectional antennas capture

sleep mode. The MSP430F6779A metering SoCs include

the complete signal field, making it easy to locate a line

advanced security and electrostatic discharge features. A

and follow its path. The free RIDGIDtrax app for use on

128-bit AES hardware-accelerated module speeds encryp-

iPhone, iPad or Android provides basic utility mapping on

tion time, improves meter security and performance.

a mobile device. When paired with the SR-24 Line Locator,

With more flash memory integrated on-chip, smart grid

the RIDGIDtrax app will display GPS position and depth

developers can incorporate more sophisticated metering

of the target utility on a real-time map. A user can identify

features such as multidwelling dynamic pricing, large buf-

the utility type and display multiple utilities on the same

fers for interval data, DLMS/COSEM for meter data for-

map. A completed map can be saved and viewed inside

matting and communication stacks for wired and wireless

the app or exported to a universal file format for use with

protocols. Developers also will benefit from the TPS54060

GIS programs such as Google Earth.

step-down converter that provides a regulated DC supply

Ridgid

of 3.3V with low quiescent current to ensure full-speed

GO TO WWW.PGI.HOTIMS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

operation of the MSP430F67641 and MSP430F6779A


devices.

Texas Instruments
Ground-penetrating
Radar Control Unit

GO TO WWW.PGI.HOTIMS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

GSSIs SIR 4000 ground-penetrating


radar (GPR) control unit offers unique

900-928 MHz Radios

collection modules, including Quick

XetaWaves Xeta9x Emancipator series of 900-928 MHz

3D, UtilityScan, StructureScan and Expert Mode for effi-

radios can interoperate within an MDS TransNET network,

cient data collection and visualization. It also incorporates

specifically communicate with a 900 MHz MDS TransNET

advanced display methods and filtering capabilities for

repeater or master. The Xeta9x can be implemented in

in-the-field processing and imaging. Fully integrated, the

place of legacy MDS TransNET radios with no interruption

SIR 4000 provides a 10.4-inch high-definition LED display,

to the operation of the network. It offers MDS TransNET

a simple user interface, plug-and-play GPS integration

users a migration path to a technology platform that offers

and Wi-Fi-enabled data transfer functionality. The SIR 4000

higher serial speeds and Ethernet capability. The Xeta9x

includes a casted aluminum chassis that offers superior

offers an over-the-air data rate of up to 2.6 Mbps20

temperature stability and an impact-resistant design.

times faster than with 115.2 kbps with a MDS TransNET.

GSSI

XetaWave

GO TO WWW.PGI.HOTIMS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

GO TO WWW.PGI.HOTIMS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

September 2014 | 35
www.power-grid.com

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www.power-grid.com

SENSUS USA ............................. 1


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TAIT COMMUNICATIONS .....C3

1421 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK 74112


P.O. Box 1260 : Tulsa, OK 74101
918.835.3161, fax 918.831.9834
www.pennwell.com

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN


POWER GENERATION GROUP
Richard Baker
918.831.9187 richardb@pennwell.com

PRODUCTION MANAGER
Daniel Greene
918.831.9401 danielg@pennwell.com
ADVERTISING TRAFFIC MANAGER
Glenda Van Duyne
918.831.9473 glendav@pennwell.com
EASTERN, WESTERN,
INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER
Tom Leibrandt
918.831.9184 fax 918.831.9834 toml@pennwell.com
CHINA & HONG KONG SALES MANAGER
Adonis Mak
ACT International
Unit B, 13/F, Por Yen Building
478 Castle Peak Road, Cheung Sha Wan
Kowloon, Hong Kong
+86.138.252.678.23 fax +852.2.838.2766
adonism@actintl.com.hk
ISRAEL SALES MANAGER
Daniel Aronovic
Margola Ltd.
1/1 Rashi Street, Raanana 43214 Israel
phone/fax +972.9.899 5813
aronovic@actcom.co.il
SENIOR DISTRIBUTECH EXHIBIT
& SPONSORSHIP SALES MANAGER
Sandy Norris
918.831.9115 fax 918.831.9834
sandyn@pennwell.com
DISTRIBUTECH EXHIBIT &
SPONSORSHIP SALES MANAGER
Melissa Ward
918.831.9116 fax 918.831.9834
mward@pennwell.com
REPRINTS
Rhonda Brown
219.878.6094 fax 219.561.2023
rhondab@fosterprinting.com

You dont want to


do this alone.

There are some jobs you dont want to do alone. Upgrading your Utilitys
communication network is one of them. Fortunately, Tait Communications is here
to help.
At Tait Communications, we pride ourselves on partnering with utility
organizations to unify their critical communications and deliver game changing
business outcomes.
eading wir
wire
Weve been building industryy leading
wireless communications for 45 years. Our
sservices team will work alongside
you to design, deploy and manage
innovative voice and data solutions
in
tthat help you lower CAIDI and SAIDI,
save energy, and improve your
worker safety.
LEARN MORE about how Tait can
help your organization at
www.taitradio.com/team

Go to www.pgi.hotims.com for more information.

The most important questions are


the ones we havent asked yet.
Darby McKee, Analytics Manager
With advanced metering for electricity generating unprecedented amounts of data,
Darby and Fred can solve just about any challenge that comes along. From helping
utilities conserve resources and predict usage to recognizing and reducing theft,
their work is essential to Itrons commitment to our customers.
According to Darby and Fred, there is no end to what data can do. Were limited
only by our own imagination. We nd that pretty exciting, and its the perfect way to
envision a more resourceful world.

itron.com/resourceful

Go to www.pgi.hotims.com for more information.

Darby McKee and Fred Behrmann, Itron Analytics