ADMS Joins the Conversation

When I moved from PennWell’s electricity generation magazines to POWERGRID International to become its editor in chief nearly four years ago, the term smart grid was heard within the industry. Since then, it has become common within the electricity industry and the mainstream. The term has been used so often that it is almost passàƒ©. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit using it. You’ll see it in this and future issues of POWERGRID International. There is another term in this issue, however, that you haven’t seen much in the magazine but probably will start hearing more often: advanced distribution management system, or ADMS.

Many utilities have used distribution management systems (DMS) for years to help them understand and improve distribution system operation. A lot also have added SCADA systems to their distribution systems to get real-time information about what’s happening on their grids. It wasn’t until recently that a few utilities began implementing ADMS. These systems allow utilities to create a truly smart, self-healing grid that can reconfigure itself in nanoseconds with no input from system operators. It can avoid what would have been an outage before the advanced technology was installed.

I recently attended the 2012 IEEE PES Transmission and Distribution Conference and Exposition, where I met with Karim el-Naggar, head of Alstom Grid’s global network management solutions business. We talked about ADMS and what’s driving a handful of utilities to invest in and implement this new technology. Naggar said ADMS allows better volt/VAR control, making the distribution network more efficient based on load. Some utilities are confronted with a more variable load curve, and ADMS helps them deal with that variability. Naggar said other utilities are considering ADMS because they need to upgrade their control centers. Another driver is customer expectations. Many commercial and industrial customers require high-quality service and much better than average outage restoration times. ADMS can help utilities meet that requirement. ADMS is a technology breakthrough that will allow utilities obtain better efficiency, service and reliability.

The feature “Smart Grid, Advanced Distribution Management Systems” on Page 24 explains more about ADMS and identifies advantages for utilities and customers.

I don’t expect ADMS to become a mainstream term, but I expect it to be heard much more often in the electricity industry. POWERGRID International will keep you updated on this breakthrough technology that is helping utilities create a truly smart grid. If you are part of a successful ADMS project, I welcome your input.

Editor in chief

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