How Agder Energi saved their customers’ Friday night

Friday night. Time 19:04

Just after the evening news, many of energy company Agder Energi’s customers lose their power. A slight panic spreads throughout the country, as it is almost time for the lottery numbers. What these customers do not know, is that the closest transformer station has already registered the voltage changes. In Agder’s control room, the operators have seen the faults on their screens, thanks to a system that is continually monitoring everything that happens in the electricity network.

A complete operational solution

Agder has been a customer of Powel since the company was established. Over the last few years, the two companies have cooperated closely on developing a complete, tailor-made operational support solution. A key figure within this process has been Atle Ripegutu, manager of Processes and Analysis at Agder Energi.

“We saw the need to collate all the information regarding the grid, power plant, production, and the load, to name just a few elements  in one integrated system,” says Ripegutu. “Now, we have a full overview of the entire grid. We know which customers are connected and where. We also have immediate access to historical information when we need it regarding faults, damage and work performed on the grid. All of this is invaluable for us when it comes to planning and making decisions about future improvements.”

Time 19:06

With the help of information from our advanced metering systems, Powel iAM DMS has already analysed the grid and calculated the location of the fault. The system also made it possible to see the error location on the intuitive map-based interface. An engineer is immediately dispatched to the correct location to fix the fault. At the same time, the system provides an overview of all affected households. Using the built-in features of iAM DMS, customers automatically receive notification by text message that a fault has been reported and that repairs are already being organised. By immediately notifying the customers, call centre operators no longer have to deal with scores of frustrated customers phoning to report the power cut. However, if anyone does call, customer service has access to all the information in Powel iAM DMS through its customer service module, and can relay correct and prompt information to the customer.

The latest in mobile and web technology

Powel iAM DMS is closely integrated with Powel NETBAS network information system, used by Agder for planning, analysis, documentation and maintenance of the grid. In its database, they have detailed technical information of the entire network from power lines, cables and transformers to data for power production and load. As an integrated solution for the entire work process supporting network asset management, Powel iAM is able to manage all work processes seamlessly. The Powel iAM platform uses the latest technologies available for mobile- and web. Its user friendly and secure design gives quick access to information anywhere, anytime it is needed.

Time 19:28

The engineers from Agder have arrived at the location of the fault. On their tablets, they have all the information they need to enable them to do their job efficiently and safely. The system performs simulation analysis of the condition and recommended resolution of the affected parts of the grid and informs the engineers of any safety risks. In addition, if an asset like a pylon is in poor condition for example, the system will notify the engineers, enabling them to take the necessary safety precautions. The fault is quickly located and the engineers can get to work.

Faster problem solving and happier customers

“Quick access to relevant information alongside having a clear overview of data are equally significant in the new system,” says Ripegutu. “Together with Powel’s expertise, the solution has enabled us to solve problems quicker and more efficiently than previously. The obvious benefit to our customers is that they can trust us. For us, it means time, resources and money saved, which in the end benefits our customer who can enjoy better prices and terms.” 

Time 19:40

The engineers from Agder have repaired the fault and notified the control centre that the fault is fixed. Customers get their power supply back just in time for the week’s lottery numbers and everyone is happy. The problem has been solved rapidly, without a time consuming search for fault location and the proactive communications prevented frustrated customers left in the dark. The operators at the control centre can get back to their normal routines, confident they have the grid fully under control.