Optimising electricity supply to boost efficiency and reliability

Paul Boughton
Macao's sole electricity generator is investing heavily in the latest transformer segregation alarm and outage management systems as it strives to improve supply reliability. Sean Ottewell reports.

Established in 1972, Companhia de Electricidade de Macao (CEM), is the sole generator and provider of electricity for the fast growing region of Macao. A special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, Macao is situated 60km southwest of Hong Kong. The rapidly developing region, which boasts a thriving gaming and entertainment industry, has seen a dramatic increase in the demand for power in recent years.

CEM currently serves more than 200000 customers in its 22 km2 area. Its remit is to supply electricity as an essential and reliable service to Macao.

In order to achieve this aim, the company is making a number of major investments to improve the efficiency and reliability of its electricity supplies.

Alarm system

The first of these, just announced, is the acquisition of a transformer segregation alarm system to optimise its power grid and improve supply reliability.

After one year of work to install the alarm system in 960 units of 11000/400V transformers, the first phase was completed in February and the system put into service at the end of that month. The whole project costs over Macoa Pataca (MOP)3.5million (US$3m).

By installing this system, CEM will be able to monitor the performance of all the transformers of the medium-voltage network on a 24-hour basis.

If any abnormal situation is found in any transformer such as excessive temperature, the system will in real-time send an alarm to the system dispatch centre (SDC).

The SDC will then assess the situation and send staff to the spot to investigate and rectify the incident so as to avoid any blackout in the area.

In addition, the alarm system can also monitor the conditions of the transformers, such as the indoor temperature. The SDC also collects relevant information for further analysis.

Cost effectivenesss

Targeting cost effectiveness, CEM has adopted an internationalisation concept and management model. The company proactively improves its operational efficiency and implements asset management for a better maintenance of the power facilities.

The segregation alarm system can effectively forecast the attrition rate of transformers so as to extend their service life and control the costs due to their replacement.

Also, by carrying out long-term monitoring of the operational parameters of the facilities, it is more effective and economical for the company to carry out periodical maintenance and inspection of facilities. Under unpredictable cases, this type of long-term monitoring can help to identify unexpected situations and in advance send an alert to the system for problem solving, without affecting the normal performance of the power network, says the company.

In a related move, CEM has selected the Intergraph InService outage management system (OMS) to speed response and service restoration from power outages by up to 33 per cent.

Co-ordinating resources

Intergraph will provide CEM with enterprise-wide capabilities to efficiently assign and co-ordinate the necessary resources to restore power as quickly as possible. The outage management solution will feature a novel geospatial map shared by both dispatchers and field personnel using mobile devices, allowing optimum coordination between the office and crews. In addition to creating greater efficiency, the system will enhance CEM's communication with and service to customers.

"Due to recent growth and development, we are now under more pressure than ever to deliver greater volumes of reliable power to the people and businesses of Macao," said Calvin Ho, CEM's unit head of the SDC. "We therefore sought a proven OMS solution to quickly and efficiently identify and restore outages. After a rigorous competitive evaluation, we selected InService, which will serve as a crucial element in the technological advancement of Macao's power supply."

"We are pleased to expand our relationship with CEM and to support its vital mission of modernising the territory of Macao," said Kevin Stanley, vice president and general manager of Intergraph Asia Pacific. "The scope and scale of this endeavour are extraordinary and we are honoured that CEM has chosen us to help deliver a solution that will have such a profound impact on the current and future citizens of the region."

New capabilities

In a separate development, Intergraph has unveiled new capabilities for its Smart Grid operations. Now utilities can not only view, but also control, their entire distribution network from a single interface, leading to vast improvements in productivity, operations efficiency, security of critical infrastructure, resource allocation, customer service and safety (Fig. 1).

Through the convergence of outage, mobile workforce and distribution management, Intergraph enables utilities to immediately identify, locate and resolve network issues and emergency situations such as power outages, resulting in improved customer service and vast time and cost savings.

The latest version of Intergraph technology for utility operations, InService 8.2, provides more efficient Smart Grid network and distribution management through enhanced integration with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) technology and integration of distribution management systems data from companies such as Siemens Energy.

Bringing all of these technologies together through a single view empowers control room operators to manage their ever-expanding networks of new smart devices and technologies without being overwhelmed with too much information coming in from disparate locations, allowing them to work smarter and faster and avoid the human errors that often cause blackouts and power outages.

Together with Intergraph and Siemens, Oncor Electric Delivery is building a Smart Grid that is more reliable, cost-effective and safe than today's typical delivery network.

Oncor has completed phase one of its Smart Grid implementation, which involves the mobile workforce automation of more than 700 field crews and up to 15 000 non-emergency work orders being dispatched each day.

By extending the control room to mobile devices, Intergraph enables utilities to improve coordination between back office and field, ensuring tighter safety and allowing for faster outage response and better allocation of crews. In addition to handling complex scheduling and dispatch operations, Intergraph technology allows companies like Oncor to provide the same map and visuals to field crews that are available to dispatchers in the back office.

"Over the past year especially, we have seen utilities providers across industries begin to re-evaluate and enhance their networks to meet rising energy needs and more stringent environmental regulations," said Jay Stinson, Intergraph vice president, utilities and communications. "Through InService, Intergraph is helping them overcome this challenge by providing a seamless environment for dispatch, mobile workforce management, scheduling and distribution network management.

'We have created a consolidated operations environment for the Smart Grid from which control room operators can better communicate with field resources and make faster, more informed decisions."

"Deploying 'smart' technology in the power distribution grid will play an invaluable role in helping utilities monitor the health of their networks and ensure reliability," said Mike Edmonds, vice president and general manager of Siemens Energy's US energy automation division. "Together with Intergraph technology, Siemens' state-of-the-art DMS, Metering Data Management System (MDMS) and power system planning and simulation tools create integrated solutions and services to meet the specific Smart Grid needs of our clients."

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