automation developments

New Communications System Expected to Improve Reliability A new two-way communications under development will help electric utilities provide even higher re-liability and quality of service, according to a release by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, California, U.S. In the future, customers could add service options for more security, con-venience and lower electricity bills.

The Advanced Distribution Power Line Communication (ADPLC) uses power lines rather than phone or cable lines to transmit data between customers and their electric utilities. The technology is sponsored by EPRI and the Pennsylvania Electric Energy Research Council (PEERC). ADPLC is being developed by Allegheny Power and Shenandoah Electronic Intelligence, Inc. (SEI). The new commercial technology is expected to be available in one to two years.

Researchers expect ADPLC services and benefits to be offered to customers at a low cost. Costs for utilities should remain the same.

"One of the primary goals of this research is to keep capital and operating costs of ADPLC below that of current meter reading costs. Small incremental charges would be made for each additional service above automatic meter reading," said Bill Guyker, R&D manager with Allegheny.

With ADPLC's remote meter reading capabilities, utilities are immediately aware of outages and can return service faster. For security, ADPLC can be connected with an existing system to signal the utility to call 911 in case of a break-in.

ADPLC provides data for effective load control or for using electricity at the most inexpensive times. Appliances that comply with industry standard protocols could be remotely operated for load control benefits. Existing appliances can be retrofitted. Field demonstration tests are scheduled for this year at sites within Allegheny.

MEA Purchases Software for AM/FM System ABB Power T&D Co., Inc., Cary, North Carolina, U.S., has received an order from Thailand's Metropolitan Electric Authority (MEA) for its Foresite(tm) software module. The module will be incorporated into MEA's new AM/FM system and will be used by MEA's Planning Department to help reduce T&D expansion costs through more accurate forecasting.

Foresite will enable MEA to perform distribution load forecasting and long-range T&D planning. Foresite provides a systematic approach to planning that will allow MEA to maximize economic use of both existing and planned equipment.

Network Management System Lowers Costs Landis & Gyr Utilities Services, Inc., San Jose, California, U.S., has introduced a new line of Telegyrr network management systems that it says will help utilities lower operating costs, improve efficiency and increase customer retention.

Telegyr systems offer utilities a new platform for achieving integrated management, enhanced system flexibility and greater control over core utility processes, according to the company. Telegyr systems provide a wide range of options for acquiring and providing secure and consistent operational real-time information into existing IT networks. From entry-level control functions to fully integrated utility network management, Telegyr systems offer extensive scalability and expand-ability. Telegyr systems are offered with a full line of topology-based, user-friendly tool kits that simplify maintenance of daily functions. Telegyr systems also feature a user-friendly, high-performance, full-graphics interface that allows more effective operator control. The graphics reflect the entire control center environment, including remote devices and provide the ability to analyze potential effects of operations prior to actually performing them.AT&T, Con Edison Develop Energy Services Products for Commercial Use

AT&T is joining forces with Con Edison, New York, New York, U.S., to develop new energy services products for commercial customers.Based on the AT&T Integrated Broadband Utility Solution, a two-way customer communications system for the utility industry, these services are expected to include power-quality monitoring, real-time pricing, customer-controlled load management and other interactive services.

AT&T, Whippany, New Jersey, U.S., will market the products to utilities worldwide. According to John Arceri, vice president of energy services at Con Edison, the utility is actively exploring ways to provide value to its customers. "The AT&T system gives us real-time load profiling, a feature we believe will be particularly beneficial to smaller commercial buildings, such as restaurants, supermarkets or retail clothing outlets," Arceri said.

In addition to services based on the AT&T Broadband Utility Solution, the two companies will evaluate the development of customer networks and advanced energy management services for Con Edison's largest customers.

During the first phase of their partnership, AT&T and Con Edison will conduct a trial of new energy services products for approximately 100 commercial sites. Details are expected to be announced by the end of this month.

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