Co-ops stand to gain with grid management system

Dana Bacciocco, Associate Editor

A new software technology may improve transmission and distribution efficiency through early detection of variances. A consortium of companies is testing the software to be used by rural electric cooperatives and municipal power authorities.Transcendent Technologies’ Powerline Management Informatics (PMI) is an experimental software technology product that will allow electric utilities to accurately determine actual performance of electric lines in real time. The patent-pending system is designed to improve automatic metering through improved data gathering, larger samples and state-of-the-art analysis tools, according to William “Luke” Stewart, chairman and chief executive of Transcendent Technologies Inc.

Partnering with Transcendent are Kiwash Electric Cooperative, IO-2 Services Inc. and the National Interconnect Cooperative.

Successful field tests were conducted at the Kiwash facility headquartered in Cordell, Okla., where the Network Operations Center is under construction. “This facility will provide services and data feeds to rural electric cooperatives, municipal power authorities, and tribal nations. It will contract services and data feeds to other parties,” said Garen Ewbank, CEO of IO-2 Services.

Test highlights included real time data showing anomalies in electricity transmission through the power grid. “These anomalies are the basis for the innovative analysis technology being brought to rural cooperatives by PMI to better manage both power generation and also power transmission,” said Stewart. Addressing anomalies accurately and correctly will provide economies of scale and assist in lowering the burden on the current system.

According to Stewart, while current investment by rural cooperatives has been minimal, as the system is perfected and rolled out, investment costs will be spread among participating cooperatives for a cost-effective solution to power grid management.

“The expected returns to the rural cooperatives and municipal power authorities will be tremendous. By better management of the grid [generation and transmission of electricity], cost savings will be realized through improved usage data, fault isolation in the lines, preventive maintenance and greatly improved billing procedures.

“The savings will be extremely high as will management and maintenance efficiencies. The increased revenue through better billing procedures will result in increased profits which can be returned to the consumer in a variety of ways, and keep cooperatives more than competitive during deregulation or re-regulation,” said Stewart, who developed the PMI software technology and monitoring systems.

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