The ABB/Digpro solution created something beyond the capabilities of a typical distribution and operations management system. As Multing explained, "The combined technologies created a complete operations management and network information system (OMS/NIS), effectively integrating Enemalta’s information and operations technology. We were able to accomplish all of our customer’s goals, and solve many of the problems and challenges traditionally faced by utilities."
The SCADA and OMS/NIS solution brought together diverse data streams and business functions throughout the organisation into a single system, creating a unified, single, ‘true view’ of network information. Many functional and data silos were effectively removed, consolidating islands of information and eliminating an abundance of standalone tools. Seeing the benefit of this one, true view, Enemalta expanded the original project scope to include additional integrations, including hourly acquisition of smart meter data and the transmission of system data to legacy GIS systems.
The singular view of network data coupled with significantly enhanced support for the outage management process were key elements in achieving a unified network lifecycle management for Enemalta. When undertaking network improvements, expansions, and other initiatives, the project teams now access a single, consistent collection of data. This provides full transparency to management, project team members, and contractors throughout each step of the project cycle, resulting in improved control and increased quality assurance.
From planning through design, implementation, operation, maintenance, and optimisation, all team members access the same data via a single tool. Internally, this simplifies and speeds up almost every aspect of network operations and maintenance, with a resulting reduction in outages. Externally, it enhances Enemalta’s ability to provide better, faster responses to customer issues and inquiries.
"It will also provide improved load shedding,’ Vassallo adds. ‘That’s a critical capability; if we lose our connection to the Italian grid, we need to very quickly shed loads to avoid a complete blackout."
In addition to offering a solution that was exactly scaled to Enemalta’s needs, the project was completed at a relatively small cost and in a short timeframe compared to alternate solutions. Since Enemalta serves an island, it’s unlikely that that there will be a need to significantly expand the capacity of its system, even though the network has been strengthened in the last three years. However, in other implementations where utilities want to start with a small step but ensure the ability to expand in the future, the ABB solution provides the needed scalability to migrate to an enterprisewide advanced distribution management system (ADMS).
"We will migrate to the new system over time rather than making a sudden cut," says Vassallo. "Doing this will help us avoid possible loss of power to customers while implementing the system. And Enemalta has just started extending the automation capabilities to our smaller substations, the ones closest to the customers, to further reduce response time to customer issues."
Deployment, operation and maintenance of the solution were greatly simplified, and the implementation costs were leveled over a three-year period, through ABB’s evergreen service model. As Multing explains, "In typical implementations, there are unpredictable and often large swings in required spending. The evergreen model provides customers with level spending on a 'subscription' to the full suite of life-extension services. New releases, service packs, hot fixes, error tracing, bug fixes, system testing, licenses, hardware and more are all included in the package."
The SCADA and OMS/NIS solution brought together diverse data streams and business functions into a single system, creating a unified, single, ‘true view’ of network information.