Home Tags POWERGRID_INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 4
POWERGRID_INTERNATIONAL Volume 3 Issue 4
Customers take charge, competition gets tougher and change is constant. These are the three fundamental business drivers around the world today. These factors have created a hypercompetitive marketplace and forced utility companies to accelerate the implementation of new technologies. They are quickly learning that digital strategies can change fortunes overnight.
Since the 1980s, the buzzword has been "substation automation." In spite of the buzz, implementations to date have been limited. The question is why? Why do utilities put in one or two systems, often pronounce them successful, and then stop or slow down the program? The reason, articulated by the utility or not, is often an unforeseen high level of software maintenance.
As the utility industry moves further into a deregulated and re-regulated environment, new challenges are presented. Not the least of these challenges is maintaining profitability while competitors try to acquire utilities` most lucrative customers. This makes it essential for utilities to know their customers.
Thanks to today`s technology, reading meters is becoming easier, quicker and in many cases, cheaper. Utilities, cooperatives and municipalities have long been interested in improving their meter reading processes and strategies. However, these traditional entities are not the only ones interested in metering technology. Many owners and managers of large residential and commercial buildings, as well as established meter reading companies, are also looking for technology that can be used in submet
Even though automatic meter reading (AMR) technology has been around for numerous years, it is slowly being tested and installed throughout the United States. Utilities have been slow to implement the technology based on several reasonable concerns: technology is still changing, deregulation is unstable and costs are still high.
Much of North America`s current interconnected power grid was designed and built in the 1950s and 1960s. While these transmission systems were more than adequate at that time, today`s demands and requirements are much larger and more complicated. As a result, the nation`s power grid is now expected to perform functions that were not anticipated when it was designed.
When Manitoba Hydro decided it wanted to improve its routine maintenance and emergency service programs, the utility realized that the project would require a radical overhaul of its GIS. The utility began working with Kanotech Information Systems Ltd., an Edmonton, Alberta-based consulting firm, and Autodesk Inc., a software company, to devise a unique mapping program that combined Kanotech`s GIS software with Autodesk`s AutoCAD software.
Eastern Utilities Associates (EUA), serving more than 300,000 customers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, needed to improve the availability of power outage information to its customer information services (CIS). EUA executives realized this need existed six years ago; however, EUA`s outage response system was outdated and lacked the graphical capabilities needed to locate problems quickly and provide timely feedback to affected customers.
Weather Services International has opened an Internet weather information web site for utility operational decision making. ENERGYcast offers real-time and forecast weather information in six categories--radar and satellite, sky and weather, temperature, precipitation, historical and cities. ENERGYcast is customized for each utility, including the utility logo, and acts as the utility`s own Internet page. The site can be toured at www.ENERGYcast.wsicorp.com.
Mauell`s DLV 1280 projector use reflective digital light valve technology to give 1280 x 1024 resolution with three times the brightness of a CRT projector. The projectors feature xenon lamps and a system for near perfect color and brightness matching of multiple screens throughout the life of the lamps. Its Electrohome screen controllers allow almost unlimited flexibility to show video, computer generated graphics, or system or one line diagrams across as many as 84 screens.