T&D World Magazine
Platform Features Voltage Measurements Tested to Within 0.5% Accuracy

Platform Features Voltage Measurements Tested to Within 0.5% Accuracy

Enhanced Predictive Grid Analytics and Successful Deployments at Manitoba Hydro and DTE Energy Highlight Growing Need for New Capabilities

Tollgrade Communications, Inc. has announced the availability of its LightHouse 5.0 platform. The LightHouse platform, consisting of Medium Voltage (MV) Smart Grid Sensors with accurate voltage measurements  and enhanced Predictive Grid Analytics capabilities, is the first of its kind to offer a battery-free, software-enabled Smart Grid Sensor that has been verified by independent, third-party labs and customer deployments to measure voltage to within 0.5% accuracy.  

“Today’s utilities need to actively monitor and manage their networks from the substation throughout the entire distribution system,” said Vince Dow, Vice President, Distribution Operations, DTE Energy. “Having access to highly accurate, real-time asset information is a key input to planning models and control applications including Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Distribution Management Systems (DMS) and Outage Management Systems (OMS).“

Tollgrade’s global customer base is already seeing results from the 5.0 platform. In central Canada, Manitoba Hydro is utilizing the LightHouse Power Sensor in a pilot project to help Tollgrade develop smart grid voltage sensors as a cost effective method for obtaining real-time, accurate voltage measurements where they need them the most.  Use of these sensors eliminates the requirement for the substantial installation and calibration effort associated with traditional medium voltage metering devices.

Additional LightHouse 5.0 highlights and capabilities include:

  • Improved Distribution Management Systems (DMS) integration and real-time data collection capabilities.  LightHouse 5.0 software enhancements provide critical interval data for load flow models.  This significantly improves the accuracy of load flow analysis for third party systems, enabling utilities to better determine control decisions when restoring power outages or performing maintenance work.
  • Reporting of bi-directional power flow.  With MV Power Sensors and LightHouse 5.0 software, utilities can determine the direction of current flow in real-time. This can help utility companies understand the true impact of renewable generation on their assets while identifying potential risks for engineers working on the lines.   
  • Enhanced graphical user interface simplifies several configuration and reporting screens and allows users to interact directly with data plots, allowing faster access to critical information.

In addition, LightHouse 5.0 enables distribution network operators (DNOs) to accelerate the connection of renewable generation assets and monitor their networks. 

Having the ability to determine which direction a load current is flowing in is becoming increasingly important. The integration of renewable energy assets on to the grid can create ‘back feed’. This can create an  unsafe working environment for engineers, generate additional stress on the grid and cause equipment to fail prematurely.  

“As the grid evolves into a more modern system with bi-directional power flow, having real-time, accurate voltage measurements and information will be an essential requirement for grid operators,” said Edward H. Kennedy, CEO, Tollgrade Communications, Inc. “The uniqueness of our platform offers utilities a new way to gather this vital data in a very easy to deploy Smart Grid Sensor solution that is affordable and extremely accurate. We predict this to be a game changer for utilities as they evolve toward predicting grid problems. Having the ability to do this will require more real-time, accurate voltage and analytics data to drive various critical applications, such as substation monitoring and fault detection.”

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