Tollgrade LightHouse adds cellular sensors to distribution monitoring platform

Tollgrade Communications Incorporated, a global leader in providing network assurance solutions to the world’s largest utilities and telecommunications providers, today announced the availability of a cellular version of their industry-leading LightHouse Medium Voltage (MV) distribution line sensors.

To ease deployment, all cellular sensors ship with a pre-bundled data plan so there are no extra data charges, costs or hassles for a utility to begin collecting grid data from their distribution network quickly. Tollgrade LightHouse sensors have been successfully deployed to improve grid reliability, remotely monitor substations and predict failures in high value protection equipment.

In a public filing with the Ontario Energy Board in 2012, Toronto Hydro stated they had the potential to save 550,000 customer outage minutes by using the Tollgrade LightHouse system. Unlike traditional fault indicators, the Tollgrade solution combines real-time grid intelligence gathered wirelessly from sensors with predictive analytics software, allowing utilities to detect outages before customers call and in many cases, prevent future outages.

Tollgrade will demonstrate the new cellular sensors at DistribuTECH in San Diego January 29 ­ 31 in booth #3025.

“With the addition of our new cellular sensors, Tollgrade leads the industry by giving utilities the most flexibility in application, cost, scale and ease of deployment,” said Edward H. Kennedy, CEO at Tollgrade. “By reducing equipment failures, outage minutes and truck rolls, a utility can recover lost revenue while gaining substantial improvements in the reliability and efficiency of their distribution grid.”

Inductively Powered, Next-Generation Distribution Line Sensors

With operations down to three amps, LightHouse leads the industry in low current operation. Unlike first generation fault indicators, LightHouse distribution line sensors provide the ideal combination of outage and fault detection, configurable threshold alarming, real-time load and power quality monitoring that can be used for a wide variety of smart grid applications from improving reliability to remotely monitoring substations.

LightHouse sensors quickly clamp directly onto overhead conductors, are inductively powered, store energy without the use of a maintenance prone battery, are over-the-air upgradable and provide real-time data and alarms about grid conditions.

The flexible architecture allows utilities to integrate over cellular (CDMA), wirelessly over the wide area network wide area network (e.g. WiFi, WiMAX, wireless mesh) or through fiber and DSL. Key sensor measurements include: load current, fault current, electric field strength, power factor, phase angle, sags, surges, wire temperature and harmonics.

LightHouse Sensor Management System (SMS) Software ­ Predictive Analytics and Big Data Analysis

Tollgrade LightHouse SMS software works with line sensors to detect and locate faults with real-time information; classify different types of line disturbances; and continuously monitor power quality and reliability issues across the medium voltage distribution network.

The LightHouse SMS software consolidates circuit measurements, provides map-view displays of sensors and events, and integrates to Data Historians, SCADA, OMS and DMS systems. Within the software, customizable analytics rules are defined to alert utilities to inefficient operating conditions, subtle system failures, or indications of anomalous behavior that are early indications of future outages.

The software recognizes and can report on the cause of these inefficient grid conditions including load imbalance, blown lateral fuses, blown capacitor bank fuses, vegetation/animal disturbances, and improper coordination of circuit protection timing.

Whether it’s providing fault information to prevent the next outage, recording load logging information to balance distribution networks or substations, or gaining proactive intelligence to optimize reliability and efficiency, the Tollgrade LightHouse platform is helping utilities modernize their distribution grid.

Demonstrations at DistribuTECH 2013

Tollgrade will demonstrate the LightHouse solution at booth #3025. The company will build customized business cases for utilities looking to purchase, demo or pilot the solution. On Tuesday, January 29th from 4 ­ 6 pm PST, the company is hosting a “Keep the Lights On” cocktail reception and invites all utilities to attend. Additionally, LightHouse sensors will also be available in the following partners’ booths during the show: Echelon, Qualcomm and Sprint.

About Tollgrade

With a global footprint and over 25 years of experience providing cutting-edge network assurance solutions, Tollgrade Communications Inc. has built a reputation for improving the reliability and operational efficiency at the world’s largest utilities and telecommunications providers allowing operators to reduce customer down time and recover lost revenue. In 2011, Tollgrade was acquired by Golden Gate Capital — a San Francisco-based private equity firm with more than $12 billion of capital under their management.

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