Study finds utilities operate OMS separately from SCADA

4 May 2005 – Newton-Evans Research Company has released preliminary findings and observations from its study of transmission and distribution monitoring and control systems used in North American electric utilities.

The new study recorded results from 200 utilities, which collectively represent nearly 45 per cent of all T&D assets and more than 40 per cent of North American end use customers.

The study found that many utilities now operate outage management systems (OMS) separately from their SCADA system, with an additional 10 per cent of the respondents planning to implement a separate OMS by 2007. More than 15 per cent indicated that their outage management applications would remain integral to their SCADA or distribution management system (DMS), while some reported their OMS capabilities are limited to trouble ticket tracking.

Generation management systems are also experiencing an increased level of activity this year, at least among those vertically integrated utilities serving more than 500 000 customers. Most others (75 per cent) continue to rely on automatic generation control (AGC) applications resident on their distribution SCADA systems for linking to power generation or power supply resources.

UNIX continues to be supported as the preferred operating system for control and monitoring systems developed for use by large and mid-size utilities at the master station application server level. Windows versions are favoured for operating systems used in field based sub systems and equipment, as well as at the master station level for small utilities, and at the user interface level.

The most frequently mentioned plans for additional links this year from control centre systems were reported to be geographic information systems (28 per cent), OMS (25 per cent), and customer information systems (19 per cent).