Storm restoration: Restore power faster after storms
Utility tools: GE’s mobile software uses big data to reduce downtime and restore power faster after severe storms.
Utility safety: When major events such as severe storms knock the power out, expedited utility response times are crucial to ensure utility customers’ well-being and timely restoration. Critical information must be seamlessly exchanged between the utility’s grid management solution -- such as its outage management system (OMS) -- and its field workers who are assessing networks and repairing the damage. The new PowerOn Response software from GE’s Digital Energy business does just that. By simultaneously integrating field and OMS data, a utility will have a much clearer picture of where network damage exists, enabling repair crews to dramatically speed up the process of getting the power back on.
Many solutions available today focus solely on collecting data on network damage caused by major storm events. GE’s PowerOn Response, however, goes a step further. Powered by GE’s advanced Predix platform for mobile software solutions, it leverages big data to drive operational efficiency and improve overall network performance and asset utilization. PowerOn Response enables utilities to share network data with OMS users and various utility stakeholders quickly and efficiently. It equips field workers with the technology needed to access and analyze mass amounts of grid data on the fly from any common mobile device.
“Recently, many local utility regulators have mandated that utilities automate their storm response processes to reduce the effects of outages associated with severe weather events,” said Keith Grassi, global product line leader, GE’s Digital Energy business. “Our PowerOn Response software allows utilities to streamline the outage restoration process and improve the overall resiliency of their grid. This, in turn, enables them to meet both local regulatory mandates and the increased energy demands of their customers.”
GE’s PowerOn Response software simplifies the process of integrating field data with a utility’s OMS. Currently, GE is installing phase one of the new software at Colorado Springs Utilities.
“This solution is viewed by us as a big step forward,” said Mathew Wells, distribution operations superintendent at Colorado Springs Utilities. “The ability to capture circuit assessment data on an ongoing basis and integrate damage assessment data with our PowerOn Restore OMS during a major weather event will enable us to identify damage, communicate necessary repairs and restore power more quickly to our customers.”
The PowerOn Response software greatly improves data visualization capabilities and reporting functions, providing operators with an all-encompassing view of their distribution network. It also enables maps of electrical distribution networks to be pre-loaded into mobile data collection tools so that field personnel can initiate new damage assessments and visualize existing damage on the associated circuit. With this technology, personnel performing field assessments can remotely access and use existing outage data stored within the utility’s OMS to reference and identify damaged portions of the network. Even when there is no immediate threat, the solution can collect network data from regularly scheduled inspection processes -- keeping utilities well informed on the condition of their electrical distribution networks.
The software also allows maintenance personnel to integrate field damage assessment data directly to the utility¹s OMS, ensuring data on the ground and in the control center are synced and accurate. This enhanced integration dramatically reduces the need for manual data transfers and updates, minimizing the amount of dedicated resources required to effectively manage a utility¹s grid data and reducing manual errors.
Once the data has been collected and integrated, it must then be analyzed and put to use to help utilities prioritize restoration activities and to ensure repair crews are equipped with the solutions and data they need to perform repairs to the network. PowerOn Response also helps utilities summarize and visualize the damage to their system as a result of a major storm. With this information, the utility can more accurately estimate how long it will take to repair network damage and when customers can expect to have the power restored.
GE’s Digital Energy business is a global leader in transmission and distribution solutions that manage and move power from the power plant to the consumer. Its products and services increase the reliability of electrical power networks and critical equipment for utility, industrial and large commercial customers. From protecting and optimizing assets such as generators, transmission lines and motors, to delivering analytic tools to help manage the power grid, GE’s Digital Energy business delivers industry-leading technologies to solve the unique challenges of each customer.