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Christchurch-based electricity network company Orion New Zealand Limited has implemented the first phase of a sophisticated network management system to help improve power reliability for customers – the first of its kind to go live in New Zealand.
The system of smart grid technologies, developed by GE, will significantly improve the network company’s ability to manage big network emergencies and help it to restore power faster when outages occur.
“Finding proven ways to improve reliability for our customers was a driving force behind our decision to kick off this system deployment,” says Orion chief executive officer Roger Sutton.
“When severe storms hit, we’ll have the information and capabilities to prevent outages and focus crews to quickly restore power to more people. This is a huge investment for Orion, for the ultimate benefit of all Christchurch and central Canterbury residents who rely on us around the clock to provide a reliable, secure and efficient electricity network.”
GE’s ENMAC Distribution Management System is the foundation of Orion’s initiative. The ENMAC system, to be fully implemented by mid-2010, will help Orion to monitor the distribution grid and will give operators an accurate, real-time picture of power flow, trouble spots and potential work-arounds for outages.
“Orion is leveraging the true potential of GE technologies with its ENMAC smart grid foundation,” said Bob Gilligan, vice president, transmission and distribution at GE Energy. “The system will help Orion improve operational efficiency by streamlining the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the network, and by providing valuable and timely information to effectively manage outages.”
Orion has completed the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) phase of the project – the first ENMAC SCADA system up and running in New Zealand.
The company is now installing the second phase, a distribution network management system which will enable Orion to maintain and control its network from a single viewpoint. This system incorporates an electronic network diagram for the Orion control room and will help to reduce the number of power outages, increase the speed of recovery from disruptions, and keep consumers better informed when the lights do go out.
The third phase of the Orion project is an outage management system, which will work with ENMAC to help automatically re-route power when an outage occurs, dispatch crews and help operators make better decisions for faster power restoration.
ENMAC’s mobile functionality will add further flexibility to Orion’s system. Instructions to field crews will be automated from the ENMAC platform via wireless mobile networks, for more timely and efficient responses to customers.