By Brady Jenkins
ADMO is a compliance tool that goes beyond North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) standards.
Blackouts can occur anywhere in the world and last from a few seconds to many hours or days. They can produce socio-economic costs and damages. In North America, several blackouts between 1965 and 2003 eventually brought a series of reliability standards that utilities now have to comply with. The NERC works with the power industry to develop such reliability standards, enforces compliance and defines monetary and non-monetary fines for non-compliance. Protection systems play a crucial role for the reliability of the bulk electric power system and for the prevention of blackouts. Learn which challenges North American power utilities have to face and how OMICRON’s newly released, flexible maintenance management software, ADMO, helps them comply with reliability standards regulating protection system maintenance and testing.
In North America, audits are regularly performed by the regional entities of NERC. NERC regulations are grouped according to 14 topics, such as Communications (COM), Critical Infrastructure (CIP), and Protection and Control (PRC). In the past, the NERC standard PRC-005, Protection System Maintenance and Testing, was one of the standards with the most violations. For many utilities in North America, however, pending audits for the NERC PRC-005 standard can cause anguish. But with good preparation, diligent planning and a helping hand such as ADMO, utilities can successfully pass audits. The maintenance management software ADMO helps utilities manage and document protection system maintenance. In preparing for a NERC PRC-005 audit, ADMO addresses four key challenges. The current version of ADMO is tailored for power suppliers in North America. Because of its customizability and high flexibility, however, it is also applicable in other parts of the world.
Keeping Track and Records
Documentation is one key to successfully pass an audit. One frequent reason for non-compliance to PRC-005 is missing evidence that a test has been performed within a specified interval, or missing test documents.
Auditors can request full test details such as test values for each individual relay that was tested during the audited retention window. Utilities sometimes are asked to present test results within 24 hours. In addition, auditors also request a summary of maintenance and testing procedures for each asset. These records must demonstrate that maintenance was performed at the specified time intervals. Utilities are expected to keep this data as evidence to demonstrate compliance. Finding and gathering information from different data sheets, computers or binders can be tedious and time consuming. ADMO supports storing and easy retrieval of OMICRON Test Universe test data, third-party test documents, and other related documents and files (e.g. user manuals, driving directions, photos of test set-ups, screenshots).
Being on Time and up to Date
One of the main PRC-005 requirements is that utilities establish a maintenance program that ensures assets are tested within defined maintenance intervals. ADMO offers the maximum maintenance cycles defined by the soon-to-be-released NERC PRC-005-2 standard, Protection System Maintenance and Testing, as a default profile. The program is highly flexible, however, and all maintenance intervals can be customized and adjusted to meet specialized needs. ADMO tracks maintenance intervals, visualizes the maintenance status of assets, and provides maintenance planning assistance.
Considering all Assets Concerned
According to PRC-005, protection systems consist of protective relays, associated communication systems, voltage and current sensing devices, station dc supply and control circuitry associated with protection functions through the trip coil of a circuit breaker. The proposed standard PRC-005-2 clearly defines maximum maintenance intervals and maintenance activities for each of these asset types. ADMO allows utilities to track commissioning and all maintenance activities associated with each asset and to organize assets by location.
Backing up Data
Availability of data is a prerequisite to successfully pass audits and non-compliance can result in large fines, so regular data backups are imperative. Regular backups can be easily performed with ADMO. For this, OMICRON provides a backup and restore tool called OMICRON Data Services for ADMO. It is installed together with ADMO and allows utilities to back up data on a USB stick or external USB hard disk. From there, data can be restored at any time. When the NERC auditor arrives, the compliance official for the utility will have all records ready for the audit.
Not Just for NERC Compliance, but for all Asset Management
With more complicated test documentation and test reports, OMICRON has developed a software that will give peace of mind to those who need to get the job done quickly, efficiently and include the data that matters. ADMO can be used strictly as data manager, and it is customizable to accept any data that can be imported from an .XML file.
ADMO is a user-friendly database software for central planning and management of the testing and maintenance activities for protection system components. It supports management of the entire power system environment. From the primary asset to the secondary asset, it is the database umbrella for the entire system. There is also the ability to customize the software to work for an internal compliance program that goes beyond PRC-005 and takes in all asset management standards.
ADMO helps asset managers, test engineers, substation technicians and anyone involved with data management keep track of all the data that comes from tracking, trending, record keeping and complying with one simple software program. Its design is similar to all OMICRON’s software tools, which are user friendly, customizable, provide clean interface, and are easy to use. As with all OMICRON products, it comes with 24/7 support and on-site training.
About the author: Brady Jenkins is with OMICRON electronics Corp, USA.