T&D World Magazine

Advanced Data Processing, Software Analytics Improve Reliability, Quality of Outage Data

In its continuing efforts to extend the value of advanced metering technology across the utility enterprise, Itron Inc. has launched its Fixed Network-based Positive Outage and Restoration functionality in conjunction with the DistribuTECH 2006 Conference.

Itron's Positive Outage and Restoration solution provides utilities with reliable, precise and easily managed AMR/AMI-based outage detection and restoration notification system.

With the new system deployed as an integral component of Itron's Fixed Network 2.0 meter reading technology, outage and restoration alerts based on programmable parameters are transmitted immediately from Centron Solid-State R300 meters and processed by the network to quickly pinpoint the location and determine the extent of a power outage. That report can then be passed immediately to the utility's outage management system (OMS) to expedite response and optimize dispatch of restoration resources.

Today, most utilities still rely on a combination of SCADA data from the substation and feeder levels of their distribution system, along with customer calls and visual inspection by field crews to detect, locate and verify power outages and restorations. Positive Outage and Restoration functionality through Itron's Fixed Network provides distribution system operators with an additional source of timely, accurate, outage and restoration data at the individual customer level, enabling utilities to respond in a more timely and effective manner.

"Historically, AMR radio-based outage detection systems have really not lived up to their billing. The timeliness, quality and reliability of the data hasn't been good enough for utilities to rely consistently on their AMR systems as a front line tool in their outage management efforts," said Malcolm Unsworth, senior vice president of Itron hardware solutions. "Utilities want robust functionality from AMR-based outage detection systems. With the introduction of our Positive Outage Notification capability, Itron is taking AMR-based outage detection to a new level. With this system in place, an outage -- whether large or small -- can be detected and located within two minutes, often ahead of customer calls."

Unsworth said the key to Itron's Fixed Network is the ability to process, buffer, filter and analyze outage alerts so that the data are translated quickly into actionable knowledge. Utilities will no longer be overwhelmed with high-volume outage messages from feeders during large-scale outages; the need to "roll trucks" to visually inspect and verify outages will be reduced; and the liability concerns associated with "nested outages" (small-scale outages below the feeder system that go undetected) will diminish.

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