Centralized versus decentralized FLISR – what’s right for your network?

Fault location, isolation, and service restoration (FLISR) is a software application that reroutes powers in the event of a fault to restore power to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible. Service restoration times range from sub-second to seconds depending on the type of FLISR solution used.

There are two main categories of FLISR – decentralized and centralized:

Decentralized FLISR Survalent’s Centralized FLISR
  • Decentralized – A scripted solution that executes pre-defined, programmed activities to re-energize feeders using power from adjacent feeders
  • Requires script creation for every possible network configuration
  • Difficult to scale to large grids because the number of restoration scenarios increases exponentially with each additional device
  • Best suited for feeders with critical loads that require sub-second restoration, such as hospitals
  • May prove to be laborious to maintain long term
  • Centralized – A model-based solution that uses real-time data from the network to identify the best network reconfiguration, isolate the faulted area, and restore power to customers outside the faulted area
  • No need to define a “normal” state. FLISR will base its analysis on the current state of the network eliminating the need to write a script for each possible state
  • Before transferring load to an adjacent feeder, the solution analyzes that the feeder has sufficient capacity to avoid overloading it
  • Vastly scalable, so ideal for any size of network, small to large

Due to the expense and complexity of maintaining scripts for every possible scenario, centralized (model-based) FLISR is typically the ideal solution when you want to set up FLISR on more than 10 devices in your network. By being able to adapt to any network configuration, centralized solutions like SurvalentONE FLISR can help avoid the widespread, sustained outages that cause customer outrage, make newspaper headlines, and result in high profile public inquiries.

That doesn’t mean you have to choose one or the other.  Advanced model-based solutions like SurvalentONE FLISR let you have the best of both worlds. You can set up decentralized FLISR in areas where restoration times are critical and, for the rest of your network, take advantage of the scalability of a centralized solution to turn a sustained outage into a momentary outage for customers outside the faulted area. Learn more about FLISR and its benefits in Can a 2-hour outage last just 20 seconds? You bet it can.

Can a 2-hour outage last just 20 seconds? You bet it can.

That’s the magic of a self-healing grid. Thanks to advancements in distribution automation, what would normally be a sustained outage can now be just a flicker of the lights.

The secret is deploying Fault Location, Isolation, and Service Restoration (FLISR) and Loss of Voltage (LOV) applications on your distribution network. With FLISR and LOV, utilities can automatically reroute power around a fault to restore power to the majority of affected customers in just seconds.  It’s so fast that customers might not even have time to get to the phone to report the outage before the power is back on.

That’s the difference maker.

When faults occur and the power goes out, every second counts. Even the most patient residential customer is anxious to get back to their TV show, charge their phone, and make dinner … essentially to get their day back on track.

And then there are commercial customers, who are even less forgiving of outages. Lost power is lost revenue. 98% of organizations surveyed by ITIC reported losses of more than $100,000 for a single hour of downtime and 81% reported losses of more than $300,000. Needless to say, commercial customers want nothing more than to get their machines up and running, their workers back on the job, and their production schedules back on target.

Therefore, you need to maximize uptime to keep your customers satisfied. Since you can’t control the storms, accidents, and animals that cause the majority of faults, the next best option is to minimize their impact and duration.

How does FLISR and LOV work?

SurvalentONE FLISR is triggered when a device locks out. In automatic mode (the fastest mode) it isolates the faulted area and automatically re-routes power to restore customers upstream and downstream of the isolated area. To prevent more faults, FLISR determines that adjacent feeders have enough capacity to pick up the load before transferring it. In semi-automatic mode, the FLISR application creates a switch order that isolates the fault and provides service restoration around the isolated area. An operator must approve and execute the switch order. Some utilities use semi-automatic mode to help their operators gain comfort and confidence in the actions of FLISR and LOV before switching to a fully automated solution.

SurvalentONE LOV monitors the network for sudden voltage drops at the substation. LOV is triggered when the feeder appears to be energized but the voltage drops below a pre-defined threshold. It automatically isolates the loss of supply, determines that adjacent feeders have enough capacity to pick up the load, and transfers power to restore customers downstream of the isolated area.

What does that mean for you?

With FLISR and LOV in your network, you can dramatically increase uptime to:

  • Improve power availability and reliability indices
  • Attract and retain commercial and industrial customers
  • Increase revenue and decrease operational costs
  • Comply with regulatory standards for uptime

To learn more about SurvalentONE FLISR and LOV, click here.

 

5 Reasons You Need an Offline Development Environment

Did you know that human error is responsible for 70% of all data loss? That’s a particularly disturbing statistic for the utility industry, when administrators import data from other systems and update the database and graphics on a daily basis. Luckily, you can mitigate and even eliminate the risk of user error and data overwrites with an offline development system.

Here are 5 ways an offline development system can help your utility:

1. It’s a safety net for your system, assets, and your administrators

From accidentally opening a breaker to importing errors from your GIS, updating your live system can introduce errors that lead to momentary or sustained outages. With an offline development system, you can maintain uninterrupted operations while making changes and test them before taking them live. This helps you protect your assets from damage, improve the key performance metrics of the utility, and reduce the stress of making untested and unreviewed changes to the live system.

2. You can quickly and safely bring new administrators up-to-speed

With an offline copy of your actual environment, you can train new administrators more quickly, reduce the learning curve, and be confident in their understanding of your network. You can improve the safety of your employees and the public and allow your new administrators to work confidently from their first day in the live system.

3. More uptime = happier customers

Any opportunity to prevent an outage is an opportunity to keep your customers on your side. Never discount the power of disgruntled customers — today’s consumers have a low tolerance for outages and they aren’t afraid to broadcast their dissatisfaction via social media. An offline environment can help you avoid preventable outages caused by errors and keep your KPIs high.

4. Keep a record of system changes

With an offline project development system that includes audit and journaling capabilities, you can stay on top of who’s making changes in your system and what those changes are. This includes the ability to track and document errors that were corrected in imported data and the approval of changes to your database and graphics before they were published to your live production system.

5. Increase efficiencies to save money

One of the most reliable ways to save money is to improve operational efficiencies. With a system of checks and balances enabled by an offline development system, you can eliminate lost revenue from outages caused by errors, as well as the cost of overtime wages to fix those errors. Instead, you can focus your resources where they’re most effective. The savings add up quickly.

To learn more about Survalent’s Project Development System, visit www.survalent.com.

Strata Solar Services Selects SurvalentONE SCADA to Monitor and Control Solar Plants

Integration of key sites will help Strata Solar Services meet time-sensitive service guarantees

BRAMPTON, ON April 3, 2019— Survalent Technology Corporation, a leading provider of advanced distribution management system (ADMS) software, today announced that Strata Solar Services has implemented SurvalentONE SCADA to provide centralized monitoring and control of NERC-regulated solar plants as well as those with time-sensitive service guarantees and megawatt thresholds. With SurvalentONE SCADA, Strata Solar Services will connect multiple plants into a single, integrated system that enables operators to efficiently monitor real-time telemetry data and control plant-level hardware, relays, and inverters.

Strata Solar develops, operates, and manages utility-scale, commercial and industrial solar photovoltaic systems. With more than 200 solar projects in operation across the U.S., Strata Solar is regularly ranked among the industry’s leading solar companies. The company’s Operations and Maintenance division—Strata Solar Services—manages the solar plants, providing real-time monitoring and control to optimize performance, maximize system output, and increase revenue. The team has experienced tremendous growth in the past two years, resulting in the need for an enterprise SCADA system that can pull data from geographically diverse locations into their new, NERC-compliant Network Operations Center.

“Before we implemented SurvalentONE SCADA, our operators went through a complex process to access each plant separately and look for data,” said Georgia Ditmore, Director of Operations for Strata Solar Services. “Our goal was to bring the data to them so they could efficiently monitor and control multiple plants within one system. Now, they can log in once to the Survalent platform and receive live data for all plants in an easily navigable platform.”

Strata Solar Services selected SurvalentONE SCADA because it offered the utility-specific functionality, flexibility, and scalability they wanted to dramatically increase the speed and simplicity of monitoring and controlling plants across a broad geography. Operators in the Network Operations Center can view real-time telemetry data and voltage trending charts, pull up images of local meters to check their status, monitor alarm feeds, and interact with breakers, inverters, and relays.

“The SurvalentONE platform is built for interoperability, which ensures that Strata Solar Services can quickly onboard new plants onto a centralized SCADA system,” said Steve Mueller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Survalent. “Our vendor-agnostic integration capabilities are a critical success factor for many of our customers as we allow the control center to share data and execute activities without replacing their existing infrastructure.”

About Strata Solar

Strata Solar is a leading provider of utility-scale, commercial and industrial solar photovoltaic systems. Strata Solar has constructed over 1 gigawatt (GW) in total solar capacity and maintains a development pipeline of over 3GW. The company’s integrated approach, which includes development, financing, engineering, procurement, construction, storage, operations and maintenance, allows Strata Solar to consistently build quality projects with long-term ownership in mind. Strata Solar is consistently ranked as one of the largest utility-scale solar integrators in the U.S. To learn more, visit stratasolar.com.

About Survalent

Survalent is the most trusted provider of advanced distribution management systems (ADMS) for electric, gas, transit, and water/wastewater utilities across the globe. Over 600 customers in 30 countries rely on the SurvalentONE platform to effectively operate, monitor, analyze, restore, and optimize operations. By supporting critical utility operations with a fully integrated solution, our customers have significantly improved operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction and network reliability. The company’s comprehensive substation automation solution, StationCentral, delivers advanced control and monitoring for enhanced network performance and protection. To learn more, visit us at www.survalent.com. Follow us on Twitter @Survalent and LinkedIn.

Survalent Launches StationCentral, a Substation Automation Solution

With StationCentral, companies can rapidly improve monitoring, management, and analytics for substations

BRAMPTON, ON  January 31, 2019— Survalent Technology Corporation, a leading provider of advanced distribution management system (ADMS) software, is pleased to announce the launch of its substation automation solution, StationCentral, a comprehensive and adaptable software solution enabling digital capabilities for substations across a broad range of industries. StationCentral, which includes Survalent’s powerful data acquisition engine, secure gateway, and a graphical user interface, significantly improves the operation and monitoring of substation devices while enhancing situational awareness in the field as well as in the control room.

“We’re excited to formalize our offering and bring to the market a proven utility-grade substation automation solution. It is an intelligent and secure solution that offers high value and has decades of experience in the rugged electric substation environment,” said Steve Mueller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Survalent. “With StationCentral, we’re able to offer best-in-class substation automation software that delivers the scalability, redundancy, and reliability needed for grid modernization.”

StationCentral brings substation automation software to the next level, encompassing protocol conversion capabilities, a graphical user interface and detailed reporting capabilities in a single highly customizable solution. Future grids will inevitably experience an unforeseen volume of data, moving at a high velocity, requiring real-time processing at the substation level to maximize availability and reliability to customers. Upgrading to a digital substation allows more data to be collected, correlated and analyzed, preparing utilities for the future needs of distributed energy resources.

StationCentral is brought to market by Survalent’s dedicated team and its global partner network. Visit www.survalent.com to learn more about StationCentral or contact us at sales@survalent.com.

About Survalent

Survalent is the most trusted provider of advanced distribution management systems (ADMS) for electric, gas, transit, and water/wastewater utilities across the globe. Over 600 customers in 30 countries rely on the SurvalentONE platform to effectively operate, monitor, analyze, restore, and optimize operations. By supporting critical utility operations with a fully integrated solution, our customers have significantly improved operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction and network reliability. The company’s comprehensive substation automation solution, StationCentral, delivers advanced control and monitoring for enhanced network performance and protection. To learn more, visit us at www.survalent.com. Follow us on Twitter @Survalent and LinkedIn.

G&W Electric and Survalent Partner to Deliver Turnkey Distribution Automation Solutions

Fault location, isolation, and service restoration, loss of voltage, and distribution automation hardware help utilities improve power reliability and quality

BOLINGBROOK, IL and BRAMPTON, ON January 29, 2019 — G&W Electric and Survalent are pleased to confirm they have entered into an agreement that enables G&W to bundle Survalent software into its LaZer® II and LaZer® III distribution automation solutions. These solutions will enable utilities to automatically restore power in seconds to as many customers as possible in the case of a fault or loss of voltage on a feeder.

“Utilities are facing more pressure than ever to implement effective distribution automation. Severe weather conditions are becoming more common and the workforce is shrinking, even as regulators are demanding that utilities increase reliability,” said John Mueller, Chairman and Owner of G&W Electric. “Integrating SurvalentONE software with our industry-leading equipment for distribution automation enables us to deliver a proven, high quality product that helps our customers overcome these challenges and increase the reliability of power flow.”

Hundreds of utilities have benefited from the solutions G&W and Survalent have provided to the power industry over the past 100+ and 50+ years, respectively. G&W delivers innovative power distribution solutions, including the latest in load and fault interrupting switchgear, reclosers, system protection equipment and distribution automation to the utility. Survalent is a leading provider of advanced distribution management system (ADMS) software to enable utilities to control their critical network operations with confidence.

G&W LaZer automation solutions are a family of complete, pre-engineered FLISR solutions that can include G&W switchgear, IEDs, communication equipment, protocols, software, integration services, and Factory Acceptance Tests. With this agreement, LaZer II will include SurvalentONE Fault Location, Isolation, and Restoration (FLISR) and Loss of Voltage (LOV) in the bundle and LaZer III will include FLISR, LOV, and Distribution Power Flow (DPF). These solutions detect faults and low voltage issues, isolate the feeder sections, calculate back-up feeder capacity, and create switch orders to automatically redistribute and restore power flow. This can have a dramatic impact on reliability metrics. For example, Survalent FLISR has helped one utility reduce SAIDI by 46.9%, SAIFI by 38.7%, and CAIDI by 13.1% after one year.

Steve Mueller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Survalent agrees. “LaZer II and III are ideal for utilities looking to modernize their network with future-proof distribution automation capabilities. SurvalentONE applications are hardware vendor-agnostic so they will integrate seamlessly with G&W’s equipment,” noted Mueller. “We’re pleased to provide the software that will enable these LaZer solutions to improve reliability, automate processes to restore power to many customers affected by outages within seconds, and help utilities attract and retain their valuable commercial and industrial customers.”

LaZer II and LaZer III are already available. To learn more about G&W LaZer solutions, visit www.gwelec.com.

For those attending DistribuTECH 2019, G&W will deliver live demonstrations of LaZer solutions at Booth # 11143 from February 5 to 7, 2019.

About G&W Electric

Since 1905, G&W Electric has been a leading provider of innovative power distribution solutions, including the latest in load and fault interrupting switchgear, reclosers, system protection equipment and distribution automation. G&W is headquartered in Bolingbrook, IL, with manufacturing facilities and sales support in more than 100 countries including China, Mexico, Canada, UAE, India, Singapore and Brazil. We help our customers meet their challenges and gain a competitive edge through a suite of advanced products and technical services. For more information on G&W visit www.gwelec.com. Follow G&W on Twitter @GW_Electric and on LinkedIn at G&W Electric Co.

About Survalent

Survalent is the most trusted provider of advanced distribution management systems (ADMS) for electric, gas, transit, and water/wastewater utilities across the globe. Over 600 customers in 30 countries rely on the SurvalentONE platform to effectively operate, monitor, analyze, restore, and optimize operations. By supporting critical utility operations with a fully integrated solution, our customers have significantly improved operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction and network reliability. The company’s comprehensive substation automation solution, StationCentral, delivers advanced control and monitoring for enhanced network performance and protection. To learn more, visit us at www.survalent.com. Follow us on Twitter @Survalent and LinkedIn.

 

Key Takeaways from UC 2018

Another user conference has come and gone and, looking back, we couldn’t be more pleased with how it went. More than anything, we’re struck by the eagerness of our attendees to learn and participate, and by the sheer amount of knowledge that was shared.

From small co-ops to large utilities, from water to electricity to gas, delegates from around the globe gathered in Destin, Florida for the 2018 Survalent Global User Conference.

UC2018 kicked off with two days of training. We’re committed to making it easy for our customers to  understand what our applications can do and how to get the most out of them. This year, attendees were able to pick and choose from an array of sessions from four training tracks. Whether they were relatively new to the application, were looking for refresher training, or wanted to learn about applications they’re considering, there was something for everyone. For those first two days, it was ‘roll up your sleeves and get hands on’ for attendees as they engaged with our SCADA, Outage Management System (OMS), and Distribution Management System (DMS) applications. By end of day Tuesday, everyone from beginner to advanced walked away with a full reservoir of tips, tricks, and new skills to optimize the use of their Survalent applications.

The next two days were jam-packed with customer presentations, panel discussions, Q&As, and partner presentations. Steve Mueller, president and chief executive officer of Survalent, set the stage for an informative conference with highlights of the company’s initiatives and achievements in 2018. This year saw the launch of StationCentral, our substation automation solution, our Transmission State Estimation and Historian applications, and the revamped My Survalent Customer Support Portal designed to better support our customers. One achievement Steve called out – an achievement we’re extraordinarily proud of year after year – is our exceptional customer satisfaction rate which has held steady at 98.6% since 1983.

Next, our chief technology officer, Young Ngo, discussed trends in the utility industry, including the:

  • Worldwide transition to clean energy, the rise of unlikely competitors to the utility industry, and the unstoppable growth of distributed energy resources
  • Rapid pace of change and the resulting shifting business model
  • Need for grid modernization

These trends proved to be recurring themes throughout the conference. Customers and partners shared how Survalent solutions helped them adapt and position themselves to overcome the challenges and maintain reliability, safety, and customer satisfaction during what is likely the most tumultuous period faced by the utility industry in a century.

John McClean, vice president of centralized operations at Alectra Utilities, delivered an insightful keynote speech in which he described the utility’s journey to ADMS – a journey many utilities can relate to in these changing times. John’s contribution as keynote speaker was doubly relevant for many utilities. Not only did he speak of the need for utilities to embrace ADMS as a means of delivering on today’s market expectations, the utility’s formation from the merger of  4 utilities was also a topical point in an industry seeing consolidation as an opportunity to reduce costs, improve customer service, increase the safety and reliability of electrical supply, and enhance emergency response capabilities.

Our interactive OMS and FLISR panels continued the theme of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Customers who have implemented our applications were ready and willing to share their unique insights on all aspects of their journey, including vendor selection, implementation process, and results and lessons learned from using it.

This ability to gain practical, real-world insight from other utilities is one of the most appreciated aspects of our user conferences. Attendees learned about how SCADA, OMS and DMS applications can support the integration of new energy sources into their grid. They heard a large utility describe their experience in creating a renewable energy control center and learned important considerations they should note in their own move toward a smart grid.

Customers looking to modernize their grid by expanding beyond SCADA learned how other customers are investing in technology to better serve their customers while simultaneously driving greater operational efficiency and cost reduction. They gained practical insight into how:

  • SCADA and DMS enables utilities to embed customer-centric best practices and improve reliability indices
  • Integrating GIS with SCADA improves accuracy and supports an ADMS initiatives
  • Converting RTUs to IEDs delivers tangible productivity and accuracy benefits
  • Protection Settings Manager can automate and optimize their control room

(Learn how Central Georgia EMC cut its outage times in half with SurvalentONE FLISR.)

Equally pleasing to the turnout and in-session participation was the amount of networking we saw amongst utility and industry attendees throughout the week. Customers were engaging in meaningful conversations about methods, applications, and features they use to solve their data acquisition, distribution, and outage management challenges. These interactions helped them uncover new ways that utilities similar to them were using the same technology to improve reliability and increase the value of their ADMS investment.

Don’t want to miss out on next year’s UC? It’s not to early to be thinking about it – click here to join our invitation list to receive emails when details come out.