T&D World Magazine

LODESTAR Announces New Distribution Planning Product

LODESTAR Corporation has released LODESTAR Distribution Planning, a powerful, flexible, web-based product built specifically for electric and gas distribution companies. This program is an intuitive application that enables energy companies to plan for future equipment needs and optimize existing assets within the distribution network. By leveraging LODESTAR’s powerful meter data management, forecasting, and calculation engines, this application enables planners to accurately model the behavior of substation devices and optimally plan for future system capacity.

LODESTAR Distribution Planning addresses the need for utilities to solve some serious and potentially costly issues. Aging equipment that has been pushed beyond its capability has caused reliability issues such as power outages. Other expensive and oversized equipment has been used inefficiently and represents significant opportunities for cost optimization. Because many utilities don't have a planning system, the crucial knowledge remains in employees' minds and is at risk of being lost as many of those employees are reaching retirement. In some states, legislation requires that utilities have a clearer distribution planning process to ensure reliable distribution services and optimal costs for consumers.

Effective system capacity planning begins at the distribution level. With LODESTAR Distribution Planning, planners will be able to identify weakness or inefficiencies in the distribution network and suggest possible reinforcements, expansions, substation augmentation and even possible new substations to meet the growing needs of the network. Using sophisticated load modeling and demand forecasting techniques, LODESTAR Distribution Planning allows planners to technically and economically assess and justify improvements and reallocations to the network. Additionally, with LODESTAR Distribution Planning, utilities will be able to determine the longevity of equipment use to possibly delay equipment purchases and/or upgrades, and at the same time improve the efficiency and reliability of their network.

Planners can conduct what-if analysis on substation configuration, build a study library of cause & effect cases, and choose the best-case scenario. Specific product functionalities include equipment modeling & configuration, bottom-up data aggregation, device monitoring, optimum asset utilization, SCADA reconciliation, capacity planning, and sophisticated forecasting algorithms. LODESTAR Distribution Planning uses actual billing quality data to drive aggregation, forecasting and analysis.

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