Digitalisation eliminates need to merge operations centres

More and more local power distribution companies are considering merging into shared operations centres to save money. Kragerø Energi could have gone the same route, but instead they chose to streamline and upgrade their own operations centre.  

Kragerø Energi AS is a medium-sized distribution company with approximately 10,000 customers, supplying power exclusively to people in the municipality of Kragerø in southern Norway. They have an operations centre monitored by just one person on duty at any time, so customers have the most secure power supply possible.

In addition, the distribution company has six engineers and 17 electricians with apprentices who handle the grid, metering measurements, inspections and projects, as well as health and safety and internal controls. 

Fixing faults more efficiently 

Despite having a lean and streamlined structure, distribution companies are experiencing ever-increasing pressure to make efficiencies and merge their operations centres with those of other distribution companies. Yet Kragerø has chosen a different way to streamline its operations. Most recently, it has invested in Powel ADMS (Advanced Distribution Management Systems) to get better control over the power grid.  

“ADMS helps us get total oversight of the current situation on the power grid, enabling us to fix faults more efficiently,” says Jostein Stiansen, Project Manager at Kragerø Energi AS. 

ADMS is an operations management system developed by software company Powel that helps customers efficiently access data from the power grid. Transparent and intuitive mapping solutions tell the operator in the operations centre where the fault is located. The solution can also be used to communicate with operations engineers so they can get the job done out in the field as effectively as possible. 

Automating work processes 

The program is also a good planning tool. For example, scheduled earthworks can be entered into the program so the distribution company is kept informed of potential operational risks. The same applies to weather data, which notifies operators about large potential storms, thunderstorms and snowfalls – scenarios which all present risks. 

“There are lots of benefits to ADMS, without a doubt. We’re able to report faults faster and fix those faults more efficiently. The ability to inform customers about a power failure before they call us is also crucial. This is done digitally through the solution,” says Stiansen.

The ADMS solution means that the reporting of dropouts on the grid and logging of connections/connection orders to the network are both now largely automated. This saves the distribution company significant amounts of time. 

“ADMS is one of the solutions we see the most interest in with respect to digitalisation, customer management and efficiency measures. Streamlining work processes and improving information flow are strategies our customers value highly. These are important, whether you’re a large, medium-sized or small distribution company,” says Richard Schytte, Powel’s Director of Sales. 

Kick-off meeting in April

The kick-off meeting for Kragerø Energi’s ADMS deployment is 4 April. The company expects to have the solution up and running by the end of 2019. Kragerø has also developed its own NSM (Network Substation Monitoring) solution using 4G and fibre, which can retrieve information from the power grid down to the second. 

“Digitalisation is going to keep growing. We depend on it. Smart meters in consumers’ homes enable near real-time data collection and ADMS gives us excellent control over our grid operations,” says Stiansen.

Are you confident that you will succeed without having to merge operations centres?

“Yes, we have great faith in our own operations centre. We know that it costs more to staff our own operations centre, so we need to streamline through digitalisation. Looking at the big picture, we believe this will be the best solution,” he concludes.