Echelon introduces new apps to protect transformers, improve reliability, assure revenue

Source: Echelon

Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ: ELON), a global leader in energy control networking for smart grid, smart city and smart building applications, today announced the beta availability of three new Control Operating System (COS) software apps that run on Echelon control nodes in the field and are managed at the utility’s data center. The apps enable network operators to monitor the health of distribution transformers, to rapidly detect and respond to outages, and to identify technical and commercial losses in the low voltage network. The apps will be demonstrated in booth D25 at Metering Billing/CRM Europe in Amsterdam, October 9-11, 2012.

“We’re leading the market by providing new innovative software apps on Echelon’s Energy Control Networking Platform. These apps provide unparalleled visibility into the stress points that grid operators face at the edge on a daily basis,” said Varun Nagaraj, senior vice president of product management and marketing at Echelon. “Our proven smart grid platform with value-enhancing software applications maximizes ROI for our customers.”

Monitor and Protect Transformers

In many countries, the installed base of distribution transformers is aging with less than one percent being monitored in real-time. Echelon’s COS Transformer Protection App enables operators to remotely monitor electrical parameters such as energy and maximum current per phase along with physical parameters relevant to the transformer’s health such as temperature, moisture level, and door open/close status. As a result, utilities can:

• Trend transformer performance over time and detect gradual degradation
• Identify inefficient transformers and energy loss
• Receive real-time alerts before transformers fail due to overheat or overcapacity
• Reduce number of field visits to transformers that are hard to reach
• Improve public safety by alerting the utility when transformer doors are open 

Increase Quality of Service with Faster Response to Outages 

Power outages are not uncommon in the developed world, costing the EU €150B[1] and the U.S. up to $180B[2] a year. Additionally, in the future, the quality of power such as delivered voltage is likely to be compromised as more distributed energy sources such as photovoltaics or heavy temporal loads such as electric vehicles are incorporated into the grid. Utilities would prefer to proactively identify and respond to outage and power quality incidents rather than reacting to customer complaints.

Echelon’s COS Service Quality Assurance App can continuously pull and analyze power quality and other status information from all smart meters on the distribution network. Alternately, in order to reduce data deluge, the app could instead pull and analyze data from a subset of meters that are strategically located at the middle or at the end of feeder lines. With this functionality, grid operators can:

• Quickly narrow down the location of the outage
• Dispatch repair crew or begin to take other recovery actions even before the customer calls with a complaint
• Know the exact time of interruption and recovery so there is no over reporting of outage to regulators
• Identify incidents of over voltage, under voltage, harmonic distortion, phase loss, etc., to meet power quality service obligations mandated by EN 50160 

Preserve Revenue and Improve Grid Efficiency 

Even the most advanced countries in the word have energy losses of 6-8 percent in the transmission[3] and distribution network. Reducing these losses has significant economic benefits. For example, it has been estimated that a 10 percent gain in efficiency could have saved the U.S. $5.7B in 2006[4]. Additionally, theft or billing fraud in as little as one percent of consumed capacity could cost a utility over $60 million over 20 years[5]. In countries where theft is higher, the savings can be substantially greater.

Echelon’s COS Revenue Assurance App identifies areas of loss on the distribution network by tracking energy usage at distribution transformers, and comparing it with usage at the meters attached to that transformer. This enables utilities to:

• Quantify losses in the distribution network
• Correlate instances of tampering at the meter with lost revenue
• Reduce manual process and time needed to pinpoint the specific opportunities for revenue enhancement

Availability 

Echelon’s COS apps are currently available for beta testing through the end of 2012. Interested utilities can get more information about participating in the beta trial by contacting Echelon at COSapps@echelon.com  



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