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Study Indicates Similarities in Plans for Full Digital Substations

Newton-Evans Research Co. continues to assess findings from its six-month research study and survey of protective relay usage patterns in the world community of electric power utilities. Insights received from 114 large and mid-sized utilities in 28 countries point to some interesting differences in plans for implementation of the "full digital substation" concept and to increased use of condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategies for protective relays.

Implementation of the "Full Digital Substation" Concept

Thirty-four percent of the survey respondents from the U.S. and Canada agreed with the statement, "By year end 2018, we will be well on our way toward implementing the full digital substation concept." Thirty-seven percent disagreed with the statement. Forty percent of small North American utilities (fewer than 100,000 customers) agreed with the statement, but only 18% of large utilities (more than 500,000 customers) concurred.

Forty-three percent of the international respondents agreed with the same statement, which is slightly more than what was observed in North America (34%). Twenty-five percent had no opinion, and another 25% disagreed. Importantly, the typical international utility respondent was somewhat larger (in terms of customers served) than their North American counterpart.

"By year end 2018, we will be well on our way toward implementing the full digital substation concept" 

Increased Use of Condition-Based Maintenance
Forty-seven percent of North American respondents agreed with the statement "We plan to increase use of condition-based maintenance to reduce maintenance testing time of technicians." Fifty-six percent of IOUs, 43% of public power utilities, and 39% of utility cooperatives agreed with the statement. Fifty-nine percent of large utilities (>500,000 customers) plan to increase in use of CBM while only 37% of small utilities (<100,000 customers) plan to do this.

Seventy-two percent of international respondents agreed with the statement that they plan to increase use of CBM to reduce maintenance testing time. Only 6% disagreed.

"We plan to increase use of condition-based maintenance to reduce maintenance testing time of technicians"

This Newton-Evans survey of electric utilities included more than 20 questions on product functionality and market-related issues. The 2016-2018 study is a series of four reports published during late-year 2016. These reports are geared to the planning needs of protective relay suppliers, power industry consultants, and utility protection and control departments. The four volumes include the North American Market Study, the International Market Study, Supplier Profiles, and Global Market Assessment and Outlook.

TAGS: Substations
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