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The Devil in the Transmission Data

Untapped T&D measurement data could make the difference on reliability.
Fortnightly Magazine - July 2004

a business, thus ensuring that checks and balances exist so that no one person can subvert the process and commit fraud. The whole scenario can serve to make executives nervous and cautious. If the CEO or CFO of a utility is required to certify that the information being provided to investors and the public is accurate, how do they ensure that it is, in fact, accurate?

By collecting non-operational and operational data from substations, organizations have tangible proof of the accuracy of the information they are providing and using to make key decisions.

Analysis and Correlation of Untapped Data

Today's T&D system has huge quantities of untapped measurement data that is not collected by the utility's SCADA or EMS system. These systems generally address only operational data that is restricted to the real-time analog values and status events, while the more complex waveform and fault data are excluded from analysis.

Non-operational substation data is found in most intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) including power monitors, power quality monitors, equipment monitors, and especially common protective relays, which are able to capture fault waveform records and detailed historical logs of most every power parameter. These IEDs are capable of connecting to apparatus contacts and analog sensors to allow for fairly sophisticated equipment-specific diagnostics. In addition, today's apparatus often comes with standard or optional monitoring devices and sensors, including state-of-the-art dissolved-gas analyzers that can provide new insights into the internal problems in transformers.

With so much to gain from this non-operational data, why aren't utilities taking advantage of it? Why aren't utility executives using it in their decision-making process? Put simply, there has been no unified system architecture to overcome the four primary barriers of data access, integration, storage, and analysis-until now. Fortunately, new technology in the areas of protocol standardization, file archiving, high-speed data transmission, and automated analysis make this data not only accessible, but also much easier to integrate and process.

Non-operational substation data has been left idle partly due to the huge quantities and the complex nature of the data that made it impossible to analyze manually, except for the analysis of a specific event. However, the technology is available and has been implemented to embed expert reasoning to automatically analyze and correlate this data.

Specifically, this solution provides insights to operations to help system restoration and alarms in other departments to identify and predict system problems.

The engine allows for the configuration of an analysis module to a utility's specific T&D system and operational procedures. It is essentially the linking of the reusable intelligent objects through a "script" that allows for a high level of customization without the time and expense of traditional software development.

Ground-Up Approach

Utility executive who make decisions need information at a high level. The untapped non-operational data discussed is too raw to be of use at the executive level. What executives need is a processing of this raw data to a degree where they can derive informed decisions from it. This is not a simple task because it requires data to be processed at several levels into