Powel has collaborated with Tensio Trøndelag Sør, previously Trønder Energi Nett to develop technology to automate responses to utility workers requests to the Grid company, referred to as network messages. This service enables automatic approval of certain types of changes in the low voltage grid, which will reduce processing time substantially.
“The average turnaround time for approval of these messages is currently about 14 days. With the new solutions, approval can be completed electronically in a few seconds,” says the project manager at Powel, Eirin Bye.
Need to simplify and improve the customer experience
Tensio Trøndelag Sør 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 phone out in the field.
“With a service like this, we will be able to change our focus from processing to checking the work done,” says Marius André Olsen, project manager for the Network Operations department at Tensio Trøndelag Sør.
The new service is called Powel Utility Grid Evaluation Service. 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. Examples of such automated messages are approval for connecting electric car chargers or solar panels to existing customer points. These are messages that do not require any changes to the power grid.
“This is the first phase of the project. We first automate messages that do not 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 has now been built to automate more complex changes to the low voltage 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 5kw solar panel for the customer, and sends an electronic message requesting permission from the grid company to perform this change.
Calculations are performed in the cloud service.
An evaluation is made: the system checks that the minimum short-circuit value for the relevant measurement point is higher than the lowest value (if it is lower, the request is rejected), and that the value of the desired output is below the threshold set for this.
The utility worker gets an automated reply stating that the request has been approved and can start the installation on the same day.
Self-sufficient utility workers are the goal
After a long development process, Tensio Trøndelag Sør is now looking forward to using the service. They also want to enhance it so more varied and complex network messages can be automated.
“Our ambition is to have self-sufficient utility workers and installers out in the field who receive prompt feedback via the service. We are looking forward to testing the system and expect the processing and the day-to-day work of the utility workers to go much quicker than before,” says Marius André Olsen.