Powel Utility Grid Evaluation Service enables automated approval of certain types of network messages on the low voltage network. This means that the utility worker, and not least the customer, is provided with a much faster response in the event of inquiries to the grid company.
“The average turnaround time is currently around 14 days. With the new solution, approval can be completed electronically in a few seconds. Grid companies undergoing restructuring with a greater focus on good customer experience, will see major benefits in terms of reputation,” says Powel’s project manager, Eirin Bye.
Will simplify and improve the customer experience
Powel has collaborated with Tensio Trøndelag Sør (formerly TrønderEnergi Nett) to develop technology to automate network messages. Tensio got involved in the project because they saw a need to simplify and improve the customer experience for their utility workers. They wanted the workers themselves to be able to send notice of installation work and receive immediate feedback on their phones out in the field.
“With a service like this, we can shift our focus from processing to checking the work done,” says Marius André Olsen, project manager for the Network Operations department at Tensio Trøndelag Sør.
More efficient work processes have been one of the main objectives in the development of the Powel Utility Grid Evaluation Service for Powel.
“By automating the processing of the most basic message types, the engineers at the grid company’s connection department can be relieved and have time to focus on the more complex tasks,” Bye says.
Along with Powel Elsmart Nettmelding, the service enables automatic approval of certain types of network messages for work on the low-voltage grid, based on a set of rules configured to the needs of the electric utility company.
“This is the first phase of the project. We initially automate messages that don’t require any changes to the power grid, such as connecting an electric car charger or a solar panel. In the long run, we aim to use the framework that now is in place to automate more complex changes to the grid,” says Bye.
Here is an example of how a utility worker can use the new service from Powel:
A utility worker wants to connect a solar panel for the customer and sends an electronic message about this.
Utility Grid Evaluation Service receives the request, and grid calculations are automatically automated in the cloud service
Then an evaluation is performed: the system checks that the minimum short-circuits value for the relevant measurement point is higher than the lowest threshold set, and that the value of the desired connected output is below the threshold set for this. Which parameters that are to be evaluated and within which thresholds are configurable and is set up by the grid company itself.
The utility worker gets an automated reply stating that the request has been approved and can start the installation on the same day.
Aiming for rapid development of the service
It is possible to use the solution without having Powel Elsmart Nettmelding as well. The open API may be used by other products for the administration of the network message process. Powel aims to extend functionality in stages, in partnership with the customers, such that further and more complex network analyses and assessments may be conducted automatically. This is an important focus area for Powel.
"The grid companies have to make conscious choices in terms of which messages that may be approved automatically, and which risk they are willing to take. Higher risk will result in more automatically approved messages, but this presumes control of one’s own data quality,” Powel’s project manager says.
Some may oppose automated processing precisely due to data quality issues.
"Those who have tested the solution for us have experienced that it is only when you get started that the improvement areas are identified,” Bye concludes.