Orion upgrades PowerOn

9 December 2021 at 1:29 PM

Orion has upgraded its PowerOn Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) to take automation of its network to the forefront of New Zealand’s Electricity Distribution Businesses (EDB).

The country’s third largest EDB, Orion says the upgrade is pivotal to ensure the company is ready to the meet more complex needs of distribution networks of the future.

PowerOn, GE Digital’s ADMS, is the workhorse of Orion’s suite of network management tools and interacts with a wide range of systems from generating switching instructions for field staff, to undertaking power flow analysis to the provision of outage information on Orion’s website.

Steve Macdonald, General Manager Electricity Network says, “Customers are looking for reassurance their power network is up to the big changes happening in our industry.

“We’re being challenged to take a much more innovative approach to network management. We need to be faster, more flexible and open to trying new ideas.

“The upgraded PowerOn system gives us the space to experiment in a virtual space, without risk.

“It gives us a virtual, digital twin of our network, in real-time. With this we can experiment with various scenarios to optimize performance based on any number of variables.”

The system combines sensory data with historical data, human expertise and simulation learning to improve Orion’s ability to predict likely outcomes.

“We’ll use the digital twin to monitor what’s happening on the network in real time, and for diagnostics to optimize the performance and utilization of the network.”

Macdonald says Orion’s high voltage network is fully replicated into this environment and plans to replicate its low voltage network in this digital twin.  Faster restoration times will be enabled through quicker identification of fault location and automated restoration switching.

“The system sends switching instructions to devices for remote switching and to field staff on tablet style devices.

“We operate a distributed power flow model in PowerOn, which models currents and voltages for different switching or fault scenarios and alerts us if any issues exist before switching, which ensures we don’t stress our network or take unsafe actions​.

“With predictive outage management, the digital twin builds a picture of the size of outage based on inputs including customer calls and responds according to rules set, including sending automated notifications to our website​. In the future, we’ll be able to send these notifications direct to our customers.

“With built in AI, PowerOn will use adaptive algorithms to automatically switch the network and rapidly restore power to majority of customers following any fault​. Smart automated power restoration means customers will be out for less time.

“The new system opens up a raft of new functionality for us. We’re excited about its potential to propel us forward to deliver on Orion’s Purpose to power a cleaner and brighter future for our community,” says Macdonald.