A multi-year plan to create a “self healing” electricity network became reality this week for energy company Jemena, as it switched on a fault location, isolation, and service restoration system (FLISR).
Intelligent assets manager Perry Rogers told iTnews that Jemena decided in 2017 that both its NSW gas network and its electricity network in Melbourne needed control systems that were more aligned with the digital world.
The old control infrastructure, Rogers explained, used “a lot of hardware components designed by the vendor at the time”, and it was time to “move to more standardised IT componentry”.
Jemena decided in early 2018 to deploy an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) platform from OSI.
With that foundational technology in place early last year, Rogers said, development of the FLISR application on top began in earnest.
Where Jemena has the communications infrastructure and devices that communicate with FLISR, the software receives telemetry from the network which indicates fault conditions, such as a trip on the network.
“A fault can be the trip of a device, FLISR will detect that, assess the conditions on the network, and make a decision regarding how best to restore supply to customers, as quickly as possible, and isolate the fault to as small a section of the network as possible”, Rogers said.
Once a fault is isolated, FLISR analyses power flows on the network to choose a suitable path to restore power to as much of the network as possible, using remotely-controlled field switches.
With faults isolated to smaller areas, the number of customers impacted is minimised.
Electricity network operations manager Tim Pullens said the FLISR system will “help us achieve our goal of improving supply reliability by 30 percent by 2023.”
For most faults, Rogers said, outage times would be reduced to “momentaries”, rather than sustained outages.
The system depends on Jemena having switch gear on the network that is “FLISR-friendly”, he said.
“We now go into an asset management plan to deploy more remote-controlled switchgear, which allows FLISR to be more effective over the network, over time," Rogers said.
That rollout will be completed over the next two years.
It also means that what customers experience when there’s an outage will be more consistent, across the network.
“FLISR automation is not a person - it’s an automated process," Rogers said.
"Essentially it will do the same thing any time of the day or night, with the same consistency”.