How Sensors Improve Transmission and Distribution Network Management

Power delivery systems are among the largest and most diverse, remotely located investments. There are several challenges that electric utilities face with their transmission line and distribution assets. The industry is in its effort to deploy sensor technologies and the associated innovations needed to aid electric utilities in addressing challenges related to transmission and distribution.

The implementation of sensors in the transmission line and distribution networks will allow for the monitoring and communication of equipment conditions continuously. Knowing that a transmission line or distribution asset is in the risk of failure will allow actions to be taken to address the safety of both utility personnel and staff. For instance, with sensor-based monitoring, the internal discharge activity of transformers could be detected and communicated, allowing barriers to be put in place to reduce the risk for the personnel until maintenance action is taken.

Improved knowledge of transmission and distribution equipment conditions and stresses that they are subjected to will allow asset managers to manage the distribution network better. Sensor data can be used with performance information, failure database, and operational data to allocate resources better. The rating of transmission components is influenced by several factors, including weather conditions, loading history, and component configuration. To address this complexity, sensors can be used, and utilities can gain real-time knowledge of the component condition.

After an event takes place, investigating teams often have less information to understand the root cause. This limits the ability to address similar situations or to improve strategies. But sensor deployment in transmission and distribution networks could provide the information needed to identify the root cause and even help understand the patterns so that the strategy can be modified to prevent future occurrences.

By quickly identifying potential problems, electric utilities can address areas in transmission and distribution where safety concerns are most imperative, and the infrastructure could be at risk otherwise. These proactive initiatives will allow utilities to successfully kick start numerous efforts to improve the resiliency and reliability of their distribution and transmission networks.

1. IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE THE TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS AND CHALLENGES YOU’VE WITNESSED HAPPENING WITH RESPECT TO THE AUDIO VISUAL TECHNOLOGY SPACE?

Users (faculty) and audience (students) are expecting easy-to-use touch screen/interactive AV controls. User expectation is all about enhanced UI.

2. COULD YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR APPROACH TO IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT PARTNERSHIP/ SOLUTIONS PROVIDERS FROM THE LOT?

I tend to surround myself with integrators that are always on the bleeding edge. This is assured by ensuring that these aggregators also do provisioning for k-12 institutions. I want to assure that everyone is aware/understand the entire student experience/expectations of students going through k-16.

3. COULD YOU ELABORATE ON SOME INTERESTING AND IMPACTFUL PROJECT/INITIATIVES THAT YOU’RE CURRENTLY OVERSEEING?

As a CIO as well as V.P. for Facilities Operations, I am in charge of two bonds with a total funding of $296 million. The first two new buildings are expected to open on January 2019.A $46 plus million new building will follow suit by August 2019. A brand new campus is being designed with a projected occupancy date of August 2021. Del Mar College is growing very fast in reaction to the economic and population growth in this part of South Texas.

Discussions about the equipment part of FF&E have been strategically different than the past. The A/V component of the low voltage infrastructure of construction now requires even more attention. Going live with these three new facilities serving over ten different academic disciplines requires flexibility and special consideration as it relates to classroom A/V provisioning. A/V must be extendable to the various learning modalities that a classroom space can be utilized for at a given time.

4. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POINTS OF DISCUSSION THAT GO ON IN YOUR LEADERSHIP PANEL? WHAT ARE THE STRATEGIC POINTS THAT YOU GO BY TO STEER THE COMPANY FORWARD?

One must discuss affordability, total cost of ownership, ease of use, support requirements, standardization, and more importantly, adaptability to multiple teaching modalities’ tend to decide towards standards and being vendor agnostic in defining such.

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