More than Just Monitoring - A Virtual Technician

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1 Next Generation Monitoring of Substations More than Just Monitoring - A Virtual Technician C. Harper Anderton

2 Contents Introduction... 1 Smoke signals vs fiber optic... 1 Standard response vs smart response... 1 Next Generation Technician Support... 2 Centralized vs Distributed Intelligence... 2 A Solution Approach... 3 Virtual Technician Benefits... 6 Operations Efficiency... 6 Device Monitoring... 6 Security... 6 Manage Generators... 6 Network Resiliency... 6 Energy Conservation... 6 Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper

3 Introduction Monitoring and responding to network issues within substations is crucial to maintaining the integrity of today s power grid, and as we move to a Smarter Grid then to the Smart Grid the complexity and variety of equipment being monitored will only increase. While new packet based equipment is being installed, the older, legacy equipment is not going away. This presents the field technicians who have to maintain the equipment an ever increasing workload and range of devices to be familiar with. So from isolated sites accessible only by a manned truck roll to completely managed telecom networks - how do you get the right information to the right person at the right time without compromising your network? Smoke signals vs fiber optic When an alert is raised by a device in the substation the question is... how fast do you want to know and from whom do you want to hear it? For example: Two Field technicians are sitting at their cubicles in the local operations office. One happens to look out the window and notices a plume of smoke in the distance. The technicians glance at each other and one asks do you think that s one of our substations? It is too far away to tell so they go back to work, waiting for the customers to call and report an outage. Only then they will know for sure. Yes, you need to have a communications link to the substations to be notified of an issue before it escalates to an outage situation, but you don t have to have fiber optic to all of the sites to manage them either. A high bandwidth connection does allow additional capabilities such as streaming real-time video from high resolution cameras, but you can completely monitor a remote site on a single 64 Kbps channel. There is a relatively small amount of information needed to provide an efficient, quick and cost effective response. You just need it to get to the right information to the right person at the right time. Standard response vs smart response How many times has the message come from the NOC that there is an alarm at a substation and when the technician gets there (after a two hour drive) to find that a module in a chassis has failed? Only then to have to drive two hours back to the depot for a replacement module, drive two hours back replace the module, drive two hours. Is this efficient use of resources? Now consider this, the NOC receives an alarm and notifies the local operations center. Then the field technician for that substation logs in, sees the device that is registering an issue, queries the fault database to identify the problem (a faulty module), takes replacement module out of spares and drives two hours to the site, replaces the module hey presto fixed in a fraction of the time. More efficient? This what a Next Generation Technician Support System can deliver. Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper 1

4 Next Generation Technician Support Fundamental to an NGN Support System is distributing the intelligence so that the critical information needed to effectively respond to alarms is available by the people who need access, when they need access. Centralized vs Distributed Intelligence What is the difference between a Centralized intelligence system and A Distributing Intelligence System? 2 Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper A Centralized Management System (CMS) is a management system located at the core of the network looking out. It could be some sort of Operation and Support System (OSS), Network Management System (NMS) or glorified Element Management System (EMS) that collects alarms, or at least reports the status of elements in the network. These systems can be as sophisticated, elaborate, and graphical as the budget will allow. All the intelligence is in the central location, when an alarm is raised the remote devices do nothing more than send notification to the CMS. A Distributed Intelligence System delegates intelligence and decision making to the substations. By deploying an intelligent Remote Site Gateway (RSG), everything is connected, including the telecom equipment, batteries, generators, alternate energy sources, air conditioner, cameras, etc. The RSG then collects information, passes the appropriate information to the right person, makes decisions, and takes action and can also provide cyber security, control remote user access, while providing an audit trail of remote user access. Okay, so both systems monitor and track alarms; so yes there is overlap in functionality between a CMS and a RGS because both can send alarms wherever they need to go. However, there are key differences: 1. The CMS is only as intelligent as the devices it is connected to (and some of those are pretty dumb). The CMS can only report and control what it is able to recognize. 2. The RSG does not need a CMS to operate as it is connected to all of the devices at the substation, has the intelligence to make decisions, take action(s), and once connected to the network will send alarms and information directly to whoever needs to know by either SNMP trap, , or text message. 3. The CMS needs a wide area network (WAN) connection to the substation to control devices at the remote site, it can only see what it is physically connected to. 4. The RSG does not need a WAN. It is already at the site so if the link to the site goes down, the CMS doesn t even know the water at the site is rising. Meanwhile, the RSG is busily switching on the pump, monitoring the temperature and noting that the communications link to the CMS has gone down. If there is a backup connection, it will send out messages saying the water is rising,

5 and the main link has failed. The RSG is sitting there looking after the site, collecting information storing it locally, and if necessary making decisions that could prevent expensive equipment failure or a prolonged outage. When the link comes back up the RSG will then update the CMS with all the appropriate information and actions - such as, messages about the water rising and when the RSG turned the pump on and when the water level went down and when it turned the pump off. Today, there are many CMSs that can store, process, and trend data, provide a wonderfully graphical user interface and provide a powerful picture of the network and the devices it recognizes. There are also numerous RTUs available that can provide a level of intelligence at the substation. On their own these do not provide the field technicians with the instant information or access and support for troubleshooting issues in the most effective way. They are islands of information, giving the field technicians little or no direct visibility. A Solution Approach By taking a complete solutions approach and implementing a truly distributed intelligence system that combines a CMS with an intelligent RSG, and adding in features that are specifically designed to provide the technician with the information needed when it is needed you have a Next Generation Technician Support System. A Virtual Technician Support System combines the CMS centralized one window view, with northbound interfacing to a higher level Man the RSG that provides the functions of an RS232 terminal server, an alarm contact terminal and adds analog inputs, control outputs, cyber security, an audit trail, event response, scripting, and concentration onto the backhaul, or multiple backhauls. With secure remote access provided to the Virtual Technician System, a field technician can perform many tasks remotely including: Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper 3

6 Remotely reset equipment. Basic equipment, such as modems are a prime example. In many cases, a traditional CMS cannot get direct access. A Virtual Technician System allows these types of devices to be rest remotely saving a truck roll. Remote Troubleshooting. A high temperature alarm comes in a Virtual Technician not only reports that the temperature is high, but shows what the actual value is. Additionally, a Virtual Technician has the ability to graph the temperature to see how rapidly it is climbing, or if it hit its peak and is now falling so when the technician checks the AC and sees that it had a problem that appears to be fine now and the temperature is starting to drop so there is no need to roll the truck right away. Managing/connecting to legacy equipment. Legacy equipment typically does not have SNMP capabilities, making it difficult for a normal CMS to manage or access the device. A RSG as can be programmed to convert native alarm outputs to SNMP traps. Managing/connecting to IP/SNMP based equipment. A Virtual Technician System allows access to, trouble shooting of and configuration of SNMP based equipment. All of which can significantly reduce truck rolls. A Virtual Technician System can also offer significant support and information in other situations: Provide network resiliency/network triage. Getting the network back up and running as quickly as possible after a disaster. Imagine that after a disaster, a conference call asking where the generators were located, which ones needed fuel, and at which sites batteries were charged enough so that the generator could be redeployed. An RSG gives up-to-the-minute updates and might have even prevented the network from going down in the first place. 4 Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper

7 Provide energy conservation. For remote site temperature control, an RSG can monitor analog temperature inside and out. As the temperature rises in the site, the RSG checks the outside temperature, then either opens a vent or turns on a DC fan. If the temperature continues to rise, it can turn on a second fan. Keep in mind that stabilizing the temperature is a huge benefit towards extending the life of electronic equipment at the site. Provide security, both cyber and physical. Provide network security controlling remote access to the site equipment by limiting individuals to read only - or control access of only - a specific piece of equipment or all of the equipment at the site. Before the field tech gets out of the vehicle he logs in through the Virtual Technician System to a camera to see if anyone is there that shouldn t be. Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper 5

8 Virtual Technician Benefits Operations Efficiency Payback period: 9-12 months o Reduce travel time 40-50% o Reduce MTTR 30-35% o Reduce maintenance cost 25-30% Device Monitoring Payback period: 8-15 months o Increased availability of field technicians o Reduced Truck Roles Security Payback period: 1 event o Technician safety o Increased network availability Manage Generators Payback period: 1-2 months o Reduce Fuel consumption o eliminate fuel theft o Reduce maintenance costs o Extend generator life o Reduce Carbon footprint Network Resiliency Payback period: 1 event o Increased network availability Energy Conservation Payback period: 12 months o Reduce electricity use o Stabilize site temperature o Improve public image Virtual Technician Systems address a crucial area of operations for companies who own their own private telecommunications network which is not their revenue source. This infrastructure was created to support the voice and data needs of generating, transmitting, and delivering electricity, oil, gas, and water. In these situations, a major problem is that most telecom departments in these companies are underresourced and the technicians are charged with supporting a myriad of devices across a wide geographic and often inhospitable geography. Keeping the telecom network running is the primary focus and that requires smart tools to ensure the maximum efficiency of the operations organization. Virtual Technician distributed intelligence solves problems, frees up resources, and offers a cost effective option for supporting the network of the future, a foundation for Smart Grid. 6 Next Generation Monitoring of Substations - Whitepaper

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