Cellular Sensors Added to Distribution Monitoring Platform

Cellular Sensors Added to Distribution Monitoring Platform

Tollgrade Communications has announced the availability of a cellular version of its LightHouse Medium Voltage (MV) distribution line sensors. The cellular sensors come pre-bundled with a data plan.

Tollgrade LightHouse sensors have been successfully deployed to improve grid reliability, remotely monitor substations and predict failures in high-value protection equipment. In a public filing with the Ontario Energy Board in 2012, Toronto Hydro stated it had the potential to save 550,000 customer outage minutes by using the Tollgrade LightHouse system.The Tollgrade solution combines real-time grid intelligence gathered wirelessly from sensors with predictive analytics software, allowing utilities to detect outages before customers call and in many cases, prevent future outages. Tollgrade’s sensor, coupled with its analytic software could, for example, identify portions of the grid that are experiencing transient faults from overgrown trees, along with identifying outages and current levels.

LightHouse inductively powered line sensors operate down to three amps. Unlike first-generation fault indicators, LightHouse distribution line sensors provide the ideal combination of outage and fault detection, configurable threshold alarming, real-time load and power quality monitoring that can be used for a wide variety of smart grid applications from improving reliability to remotely monitoring substations .

LightHouse sensors quickly clamp directly onto overhead conductors, are inductively powered, store energy without the use of a maintenance prone battery, are over-the-air upgradable and provide real-time data and alarms about grid conditions. The flexible architecture allows utilities to integrate over cellular, or use their wide-area network (e.g. WiFi, WiMAX, wireless mesh, DSL or fiber).

Key sensor measurements include: load current, fault current, electric field strength, power factor, phase angle, sags, surges, wire temperature and harmonics. LightHouse Sensor Management System (SMS) Software – Predictive Analytics and Big Data Analysis Tollgrade LightHouse SMS software works with line sensors to detect and locate faults with real-time information; classify different types of line disturbances; and continuously monitor power quality and resolve reliability issues across the medium voltage distribution network .

The LightHouse SMS software consolidates circuit measurements, provides map-view displays of sensors and events, and integrates to data historians, SCADA, OMS and DMS systems. Within the software, customizable rules can be defined to alert utilities to inefficient operating conditions, subtle system failures, or indications of anomalous behavior that are early indications of future outages. The software recognizes and can report on the cause of these inefficient grid conditions including load imbalance, blown lateral fuses, vegetation/animal disturbances, and improper coordination of circuit protection timing.


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