T&D World Magazine

Distribution Monitoring Platform Offers Smart Grid Sensor Accuracy and Fault Detection

Tollgrade Communications Inc. has announced the availability of its LightHouse 4.0 Distribution Monitoring platform, with support for GSM cellular networks. Additional platform enhancements include Auto-Phase ID, GPS-based time synchronization of sensors and substation monitoring. These features allow utilities to have more accurate and actionable information from their distribution networks and enable better fault detection, power restoration and Predictive Grid Analytics. The release of a GSM cellular sensor allows Tollgrade to expand their market reach further into the European and Latin American markets where deployments are currently underway.

Auto-Phase ID and GPS Time Synchronization Improves Accuracy

The operation and maintenance of distribution networks is becoming more complex, thus accurate, real-time data is more critical than ever. New automation systems like distribution management systems (DMS) and outage management systems (OMS) rely on the accurate representation of loads and individual connections for a range of applications, including fault location and automated switching to speed service restoration. Without accurate records, including proper phase identification, crews are unable to quickly restore power to individual customers, businesses and neighborhoods.

To offer more accurate phase, load and location data that speeds restoration and ensures crew safety, Tollgrade offers two new features: Auto-Phase ID and GPS Time Synching of sensors, available in LightHouse 4.0. With these enhancements, utilities can have accurate phase identification throughout their distribution feeders and single-phase laterals. Auto-Phase ID enables utilities to identify and resolve inaccuracies in their GIS and CIS databases before they dispatch crews allowing for faster restoration and fewer false alarms. Second, LightHouse sensors use integrated GPS receivers for an accurate and synchronized universal time reference, and perform interval data logging at coordinated time periods.  This added functionality is the foundation of a rich and growing suite of analytics and reports based on time synchronized sensors allowing LightHouse to provide a single, trusted and accurate stream of data into a utility’s DMS. 

New Substation Transformer Reports and Alarms

The cost of replacing substation transformers after they fail unexpectedly is dramatically more expensive than repairing the asset. To avoid this preventable situation, the LightHouse 4.0 platform includes configurable overload reports and alarms that can be customized to the transformer’s nameplate rating. These alarms can also be prioritized by severity and events are captured in a dashboard for future analysis. Additionally, the solution reports when phases are out of balance, accelerating the aging process. 

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