Most Utility Systems offer some value in the form of Data Analytics but only in a vacuum. The challenge is recognizing the ultimate value of data analyzed from multiple systems all combined together to solve common business challenges such as; prolonging the life of field equipment, reducing line loss that is passed on to customers, solving complex customer billing, reducing energy during peak load periods, etc…. uCentra™ addresses this challenge by providing the integration platform that manages all of the pertinent operational data necessary to solve these business issues and also provides specific modules to address many of these specific needs including the following;
The uCentra™ Line Loss Analysis Module provides a comprehensive view of line losses. It systematically reconciles wholesale power purchases with power sales down to the substation, feeder and phase. It pinpoints where losses are occurring and where operational corrections can be made to recover revenue and increase the efficiency of the distribution network.
It’s imperative that utilities do everything they can to make distribution system operations efficient in an effort to delay future rate increases that may be inevitable due to future generation constraints and plant construction challenges.
Portions of distribution system line loss are a necessary pass-through expense to utilities. Unfortunately, many utilities are forced to “bury” all their line losses in their power cost recovery factor or pass along to their customers through rate increases because of the difficult challenge to identify and correct the losses. As an alternative, leading utilities are making distribution line loss management an all-employee, utility-wide program initiative.
While the emphasis on the uses, functionality and benefits for the Line Loss Analysis system is typically focused on electric service, the use of the Line Loss Analysis application is equally applicable to both Water and Gas line loss analysis given sufficient metering points exist to support the analysis.
In the case of water; the Plant, Production and Customer metering are configured to provide a daily water loss figure for use in understanding the efficiency of the water system. Unmetered use such as; hydrant flushes, line breaks, etc are factored into the analysis and the ability to calculate a daily plant production figures are supported in order to produce a daily loss figure.
Some common causes for the water line losses are:
Gas service loss analysis is also supported by configuring the application for a gas orientation.
The purpose of the uCentra™ Voltage Analysis Module is to provide Utilities with an automated method for alerting and reporting metered voltage threshold violations using voltage data reported from AMI and other related Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) technologies. Voltage can vary throughout an electric distribution system and the goal for the utility is to avoid situations where end user metered voltages exceed or fall below allowable thresholds. With the implementation of the uCentra™ Voltage Analysis Module, utilities can automatically monitor and then respond accordingly to voltage events that are reported and grouped by substation, feeder, phase and transformer, giving the utility the information needed to make informed decisions regarding voltage settings throughout its distribution network and to support CVR programs.
Utilities implement Conservation Voltage Regulation (CVR) programs to embrace the idea of saving energy by reducing peak demand and line loss as a direct result of managing lowering service voltages, without causing damages to end users. The traditional norm in United States is to allow for a tolerance of +-5% for voltage magnitude. So, if we are talking about a meter with nominal service as 120-V for example, the common range to avoid damage to end users would be a range of 114-126V. A typical feeder in United States usually operates between 120v-126v, with CVR the goal is to operate in the lower half, which is 120v-114v. Energy is saved and all electric devices still operating properly, but monitoring the voltage becomes more and more important to allow the utility to respond quickly as voltages near the upper or lower ranges of these allowed tolerances during the normal course of the CVR activities.
With the uCentra™ Voltage Analysis Module combined with a robust AMI solution, utilities leveraging CVR programs can quickly identify where and how often voltage exceptions are occurring and are able to take sooner actions to avoid any related possible damages. (Examples of damages can be lights becoming dim when end-user gets low voltage or appliances being overheated with high voltage.)
The uCentra™ Transformer Load Analysis Module provides a simplified methodology for monitoring and managing the transformer loading conditions for the utility. In turn the utility can provide a better predictive maintenance model that will result in better asset utilization and better management of the asset which results in better overall customer service and satisfaction.
Transformers overloaded, on a consistent basis, year after year, have unpredictable life cycles. The utility doesn’t understand where these types of conditions exists in their networks and as a result, can’t conduct any preventative actions that could result in more efficient maintenance activities that would correct these conditions and avoid costly unscheduled service restorations. Conversely, transformers under loaded, year after year, produce capital investment waste since the transformer is serving an under-sized load. These transformers, if known to be oversized, could be re-deployed to other locations where transformers are over-loaded resulting in better capital allocation and asset use.
The uCentra™ Transformer Load Analysis Module employs data stored in the uCentra™ data model to provide visualization, reporting and alerting to provide the utility with a better understanding of the load conditions on its’ transformers. AMI data is essential but not specifically a requirement to support the deployment of this module.
The Transformer Load Analysis Module provides the ability to create virtual transformers or Virtual Meter Devices (VMD’s) for each physical transformer identified from data loaded from third party systems integration to the uCentra™ solution. Once uCentra™ understands the transformer population it is then able to create load profile data using connected metered device data that can then be used for analysis.
Once uCentra™ starts producing load profile data for meter groupings by Transformer, the module can then start producing information that the utility can then act on.
uCentra™ includes a basic GIS-based Event Visualization mapping feature that allows the utility to select and render report results to a GIS map based on date range. It is intended to provide geographical depiction of events using the latitude/longitude information mapped into the MDM/ODM using data from the GIS and CIS systems of the utility. This is a basic event visualization function included in the uCentra™ MDM/ODM.
uCentra™ also provides an optional module called Event Visualization. Event Visualization includes the electric GIS network overlays(wires, network, devices, etc) so events can be viewed by latitude/longitude and in the context of where these metering points connect to the physical electric network.
The Event Visualization also supports published metadata subscribed using webservices from other 3rd party vendors for visualization so not only can the utility users view meter events (i.e. blinks, hot sockets, tampers, high voltage, low voltage, outage notifications, etc.), but they can also view AVL (i.e. where trucks are currently located), OMS (i.e. confirmed outages mapped back into the MDM from OMS after a tech has completed the outage tickets with a cause code), Voltage Alerts generated by the Voltage Analysis Module, etc.
Event Visualization can be used on iPads, laptops, etc. in the field by utility staff provided that the thin client device has a secure VPN connection back to the utility.
AMI penetration rates have reached 50% of electric utility consumers in the US. The deployment of AMI and other smart grid technologies creates a substantial increase in metering and operational data. Meter Data Management systems provide the platform to manage this data to glean operational insights. Many of these insights are related to problems that occur with metering and other assets within the utility distribution system: problems that require investigative and corrective service action in the field.
When utility staff are alerted to such problems that require field work, they must manually dispatch and schedule a field technician from a system other than the MDM. This additional effort takes extra time and coordination. Accordingly, there is utility market need for automation of this step via integration between an MDM and MWFM system. An integrated MDM – MWFM solution can provide value to utilities that:
The Field Event Management Module is pre-integrated with the Clevest Mobile Workforce Solution. The purpose of Field Event Management is to manage and actionize alerts from any of the sources described above that reside within the uCentra™ platform, and to pass selective events and requests, to Clevest for field order actions such as to dispatch a field order to inspect/correct and then close the field order, keeping uCentra™ updated with status on the orders.
The uCentra™ Field Event Module provides the operator a user interface for request Field Orders (initiate field order button), queues up field orders and releases field orders, keeping status on field orders and updates closed field orders and finally, tracking the history of uCentra™ originated field orders. The Clevest Interface Module will allow the flow of field order requests and more important, event data between uCentra™ and Clevest to allow the free flow of webservice based messages between uCentra™ and Clevest.
User work cases for this application includes:
The uCentra™ MDM/ODM Power Billing module is a billing determinate generator for large complex power billing customers. It is designed to augment, not replace, the existing CIS capabilities by providing the billing determinates (rates to be billed) for unusual rate structures typically associated with large power customers where the usual CIS rating capabilities do not adequately meet those needs.
Customers that utilize rate components such as; CP-60 Demand, NCP-15 Demand, kVArh, Demand, Off Peak Energy Charge, On Peak Energy Charge, use an average min/max NCP and CP, have Power Factor requirements and other ratchet type rates, will find it sometimes very difficult to rate these customers in a typical CIS system. Many utilities perform these calculations manually since these customer rate types are so unique and the numbers of customers requiring these rate types are low in count.
The Power Billing module provides a method for uCentra™ to generate these determinates since it typically has all the elements required to produce these determinants. The Power Billing Module has been intentionally designed to be simple to use and to add additional rate structures. The Power Billing module can also optionally produce hard copy bills if required in addition to producing exports for posting to CIS.
uCentra™ is integrated to the Maximo Asset Management platform to provide asset management data to empower a new level of asset management capabilities. The uCentra™ Maximo Asset Management module can be added to any base uCentra™ deployment and can be expanded to support a broad range of asset classes.