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Enabling electricity distribution businesses to manage existing and emerging LV network challenges
PowerPilot provides an end-to-end ecosystem using innovative and smart technology solutions that directly supports the energy transformation roadmap for electricity distribution businesses while supporting core strategies to improve network safety, reliability and performance.
ConductorDown Nets Safety Award for ElectroNet
ElectroNet Group was presented the Innovation Award for “Best use of innovative New Zealand design and technology” for ConductorDown at Safeguard: The New Zealand Workplace Health & Safety Awards 2021.
The patent-pending ConductorDown feature of the ElectroNet Technology PowerPilot product is a world first. It identifies and eliminates high-voltage hazards from conductor down events on distribution networks. Deployment of ConductorDown technology applies an effective control to a potentially fatal risk to the public.
“This is a very real public safety issue that hasn’t had a practical solution, until now,” says Rodger Griffiths, an ElectroNet Distribution Network Engineer. “We were determined to come up with a practical safety solution to prevent this occurring… a fix for one of the industry’s historic safety issues. With the new ConductorDown algorithm in PowerPilot, we finally have an effective solution to this long-standing problem.”
Read the article written by Jackie Brown-Haysom in SAFEGUARD magazine here.
To discuss with one of the ElectroNet team how you can deploy PowerPilot and ConductorDown, please click the Request a demo button at the top of this page.
More about ConductorDown:
How it works
Three phase distribution sub monitoring
PowerPilot devices installed on each phase of an LV transformer provide a wealth of important data, including V, I, P, Q, PF and harmonics. Open phases and imbalanced phases can be diagnosed, providing significant safety and equipment longevity benefits. You can even monitor the HV network characteristics using known calibration data for the transformer. Capital expenditure decisions can be based on real data instead of conservative estimates.
Single phase service monitoring
Installation of a PowerPilot at an ICP provides parametric data at the supply point in near-real-time. You can even monitor loop impedance without additional hardware. Because of the cost-effectiveness of PowerPilot devices, they can be installed at ICPs throughout the network for a modest capital expenditure. Control rooms can have situational displays reporting an overview of the whole network derived from a statistical analysis of the data received. With reports from each ICP of connectivity to the network, exact outage impacts can be known and SAIDI minutes minimised as power is restored.
Installation sub-circuit and device load control
Individual circuits can be monitored by PowerPilot devices at large commercial or industrial sites, at residences with PV or other microgeneration systems, grid-attached battery storage or EV chargers. PowerPilot can also replace aging ripple control technology to control switchable loads and prevent peak loads from creating thermal stress or voltage drops on the network. PowerPilot provides control resolution down to the individual load circuit level instead of an entire ripple channel.
With exceptional processing power available right at the edge, primary network data can be transformed into targeted information, using tools such as machine learning. Insights can be developed and controls applied, without burdening communication infrastructure.
Identify safety hazards before anyone is put in harm’s way
HV ConductorDown fault sensing
PowerPilot provides an effective and novel solution to a long-standing electricity industry problem: How to detect that a live HV conductor is down when it falls to the ground while it is still connected at the load side. This line is still energised through the magnetising impedance of down-stream transformers, but the current is insufficient to trigger extant HV protection systems. This real public safety issue can now be solved using PowerPilot HV ConductorDown fault sensing.
Unique loop impedance monitoring
No comparable device integrates loop impedance monitoring with V, I, P, Q, PF and harmonics. Monitoring LI has multiple benefits, including identifying a broken neutral. Lives can be saved by identifying problems in the network that could lead to hazardous touch voltages in an installation.
Detect earth thefts
Earthing conductors are frequently targeted by thieves wanting to sell the copper for scrap, creating a hazardous situation. Using PowerPilot to monitor the ratio of currents in the earth and neutral leads and analysing the data obtained, you can get an early indication of such a theft. You can also detect loose neutrals and other hazardous events and intervene early.
Identify HV open-phase conditions
HV open-phase conditions pose significant health and safety risks, but until now there has been no easy way of detecting them. With PowerPilot, you can measure the voltages and phase angles of three-phase transformers and reliably detect an open circuit on one of the upstream high voltage conductors. For instance, a load-side conductor could be down where there is insufficient earth fault current to operate a protective device. The probable location of the fault could be inferred by grouping faults together.
Reduce the time that hazards exist
The “Last Gasp ” loss-of-power report informs a control room immediately of a fault. This can mean that a crew can get to hazardous situation such as a “cable down” faster and reduce the time anyone is exposed to danger.
Restore power faster and reduce downtime metrics such as SAIDI
“Last Gasp” power loss alerts
Whenever power is lost, PowerPilot uses a small amount of stored energy to report the outage. This immediate alert to the control room means a maintenance crew can be dispatched to restore connectivity, potentially even before the consumer notices.
Minimise SAIDI minutes
The “Last Gasp” failure report means crews can be dispatched to deal with an unplanned outage, even before customers call to report a failure. Wide deployment of sensors provides valuable information to infer the location of the failure, making it possible to achieve significant SAIDI reductions.
Reduce truck rolls
When truck rolls are not charged to the customer but a no-power situation is caused by a fault within the customer’s premises, an unnecessary cost is incurred. PowerPilot devices installed at ICPs can be used to identify where the fault is and whether it is necessary to roll a response crew.
Optimise truck roll responses
In a mass outage, data from all the sensors in the affected area can be used to identify areas with loss of connectivity and establish when parts of the network are reconnected. This provides intelligence for optimising and prioritising responses. Trucks can be directed to locations where they will be most effective.
Provide situational awareness
Both planned and unplanned outages can be monitored, identifying lines that are isolated and those that can be powered by back-feeding . Because live data is captured directly from the network, coarse assumptions aren’t made and fewer areas are isolated. Reducing the area affected by a partial outage will reduce SAIDI minutes. The PowerPilot device can also confirm post-fault restoration ICP status.
Optimise back-feeding during outages
When managing a planned outage, live measurements provide the data needed to determine if a circuit can be switched in to back-feed more customers without compromising power quality. The same facility can be used when an outage is unplanned, to get more people connected again, faster. Fewer customers are inconvenienced and SAIDI minutes are reduced compared to relying on conservative estimates alone.
Because it pays to know what is happening on your network
Get voltage excursion alerts
Dealing with customer complaints regarding power quality usually involves installing a PQ monitor and recording the voltage for a while, retrieving the device and then analysing the data to determine if corrective action is required, if the PQ monitor even records an excursion event at all. Now, cost-effective PowerPilot devices can be permanently installed at multiple network locations, including the transformer, various points along long spurs, at the customer ICP and even at multiple sites within a customer’s premises. The units can be configured to alert as soon as a voltage excursion is detected. Real insight to diagnose the source of the customer’s reported PQ problem is possible because PowerPilot devices monitor not just voltage but also power factor, loop impedance and harmonics, and multiple devices in the network reporting data assists with traceability.
Gain true LV network performance visibility
Smart meters are often monitoring kWh generated and consumed, but capabilities such as monitoring reactive energy are not being fully utilised. Timely and accurate data is typically not available to lines companies. Installing PowerPilot devices at transformers and selected ICPs provides greater visibility of network performance without relying on third-party organisations to provide data . The collected data can be statistically analysed and displayed on a control-room dashboard, providing a near-real-time overview of what’s happening on the network. Being able to identify issues such as pre-MAIFI brownouts means better, faster responses to network issues.
Monitor HV network characteristics
Insights into the HV network can be obtained by fitting a PowerPilot to the LV side of a transformer. The transformer’s parameters can be used to back-calculate the HV voltages. Long-term monitoring can identify seasonal or other fluctuations and allow a more accurate assessment of network performance.
Cost-effective state estimation
The relatively low cost of PowerPilot devices means network parameters can be monitored across the network at multiple points in a cost-effective way. The collected information can be integrated and supplied to a state estimation engine.
Optimise asset utilisation
Monitor the LV side of a transformer to get long-term data on each of the individual phases. Total load on the transformer can be monitored and imbalances on the phases detected.
Improve phase balance
A high neutral current on a three-phase transformer can indicate phase imbalance, stressing the phases that are more loaded. The life of the transformer can be extended by rebalancing the load and better utilising the available capacity.
Defer unnecessary capital expenditure
Without accurate data to make decisions, network operators can either calculate the total load on a transformer conservatively and carry out replacements before the critical parameters are exceeded or risk failures by driving the equipment passed its limits. Both strategies are expensive. With a PowerPilot attached to a transformer, real data can be obtained to inform CapEx decisions. Monitoring individual phases can extend the life of the equipment by identifying the installations driving load imbalances and rebalancing the phase loading.
Monitor network harmonic performance
Customer equipment can operate unsatisfactorily or even fail when subjected to high harmonic waveform distortions induced by loads such as switch mode power supplies, variable speed motors and EV chargers. Regulations require that power be supplied within permitted tolerances, and the only way to ensure standards are being met is to take reliable measurements throughout the network. Monitoring changes in harmonics can also be used to diagnose issues such as a transformer being driven to saturation.
Manage controllable loads at a granular level
Ripple controls have historically been used to control water heating loads, broadly spreading the peak load on the network. Now individual loads can be switched, providing a granular level of control never experienced before, with advantages to the network manager and the consumers. With high-resolution monitoring across the network, load control can be used exactly where it is needed to avoid approaching the thermal and voltage limits of the network.
Make the future happen on your network today
Prepare networks for disruptive technologies
Consumer PV installations and EV charging are emergent technologies that are inevitably going to have an increasing impact on electricity network parameters. Networks need to start gathering data today to understand the trends so good decisions can be made to respond to changing demands. The peak evening load on a network can already stress the network’s voltage and thermal limits in some places; adding the 7kW load of an EV charger in just half the homes on a street at the start of the evening is going to require a managed response. PowerPilot devices can directly monitor the evolution of the network. If PowerPilot control devices are part of such installations, algorithms can be employed to signal these systems when the network needs a specific load to be isolated, allowing time-shifting of the loads across the night on a special tariff plan similar to that used historically for water heaters. To ensure the customer gets the service they are expecting, including when they need recharging capabilities immediately, consumer override signals can be built into the system .
Intelligently manage dynamic loads
A network operator can use high-resolution monitoring and control of loads in near-real-time, with smart algorithms for managing the network so performance parameters are maintained, and thermal and voltage limits are not exceeded.
Leverage and manage peak load diversity
A household’s peak load in the evening can easily more than double with the addition of an EV charger. Even when household load peaks are broadly offset by a reduction in commercial loads at night, residential network equipment is stressed because of the lack of commercial loads on the same LV network. Even on a well-designed and scaled LV network, leveraging load control to manage peak load diversity means more headroom, less stress on transformers and more effective use of the network.
Inform critical business decisions
Good data can reduce capital expenditure on network equipment. Accurate data means that an expensive redundancy-based model for capacity is no longer necessary. CapEx can be deferred by extending the life of equipment simply by using real data to ensure it is being properly utilised and not improperly loaded or driven past its limits. Avoid replacing aging ripple control systems with expensive replacement ripple control systems; instead use PowerPilot for finer resolution management of controllable loads, at lower cost and with the option to control a wider variety of loads.
Support microgrids and new network configurations
A microgrid may operate in a grid-connected mode or may be isolated. It may draw on the network or sell energy onto the grid. PowerPilot not only provides the capabilities required at the connection point to achieve this but can be used throughout a microgrid for monitoring and control of elements and circuits.
Support load aggregation and other new business models
Whether load aggregation is virtually or physically grouping consumers, PowerPilot devices can record the data required for the feasibility and success of these and other similar business models. Create what-if scenarios using actual data to make strategic decisions such as which electricity retailers to use and tactical decisions such as what loads to shed and when to switch them back in.
Support transformation of DNOs to DSOs
For a distribution network operator to progress and become a distribution system operator, visibility and control over all the assets in the network is essential. Instead of passively providing a path for energy, a DSO needs to actively manage the system to optimise it. PowerPilot provides both the data visibility and control capability to transform your network for the flexibility and stability you require from your network for the future.
Support Distributed Energy Resource (DER)
Small grid-connected generation systems and battery energy storage systems provide a network with valuable flexibility, efficiency and capabilities. PowerPilot provides the robust monitoring and control capabilities these systems demand to coordinate.
Support Remote Area Power Supply Operations (RAPS)
PowerPilot provides the monitoring and control capabilities required to run a RAPS operation. Whether it’s a mobile generator system for reconnecting a community cut off after a disaster, a permanent off-grid energy supply system, and whether or not energy storage is part of the system, PowerPilot lets you monitor the system and watch out for load-related problems that could reduce efficiency or damage equipment.
Support Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS)
PowerPilot devices are low-cost and small enough to be deployed in various locations on the customer’s premises to control individual circuits. One possible application gives a consumer access to these load control devices through a mobile app so they can respond in real time to price signals and remotely control circuits to maximise the benefits of spot price tariff plans.
Enable peer-to-peer trading platforms
Accurate and reliable data at connection points is essential for generators and consumers to engage in peer-to-peer energy trading.
M11 Product Family
Complete monitoring for single-phase circuits
Installation of a PowerPilot at customer connections provides parametric data at the supply point in near-real-time. Get routine periodic average and instantaneous value reporting with on-demand instantaneous reports. Programmable parameter thresholds trigger immediate event reports to provide real-time alerts. Monitor loop impedance without additional hardware. Monitor currents up to 63A without the addition of CTs. Last Gasp raises loss-of-power alerts using stored energy. With reports of connectivity to the network from each customer connection, exact outage impacts can be known and SAIDI minutes verified as power is restored.
LoRaWAN provides cost-effective two-way communication. WiFi capability provides another connectivity option for higher speed data transmission and firmware updates.
The M11 is available with an LCD display option to display some useful information, including energy consumption and real-time voltage and current on-device.
The standard M11 is a DIN rail mount device, but weather proof options are available for situations where the M11 is fitted outside. These options are especially useful for deployments where access to the customer premises is not feasible.
- M11x: an IP67-rated external pole mounted variant is available for overhead line connections
- M11z: an IP68-rated enclosure has been specifically designed for fitting inside pillar boxes
M31 Product Family
Complete energy monitoring for three-phase
Three-phase circuit monitoring for transformers, overhead LV lines and interruptible loads such as customer equipment, to obtain parametric data over the whole LV network in near-real-time. Get routine periodic average and instantaneous value reporting with on-demand instantaneous reports. Programmable parameter thresholds trigger immediate event reports to provide real-time alerts.
PowerPilot provides innovative and unique solutions for critical safety monitoring: HV ConductorDown – detect and report a downed HV conductor event immediately, so circuit isolation can be initiated. Loop Impedance monitoring without additional hardware*. Last Gasp raises loss-of-power alerts using stored energy.
LoRaWAN provides cost-effective two-way communication. WiFi capability provides another connectivity option for higher speed data transmission and firmware updates.
Supplied with IP67 plugs or flying leads as standard. CTs and voltage taps provided to customer specifications as an option.
Also available with an additional two binary inputs for monitoring the state of other equipment.
Two 5A 230V relay outputs for remote control of switchable circuits are an additional option.
Supplied with an IP67 weatherproof enclosure as standard. Can optionally be supplied as a pair of DIN-Rail components, without the IP67 enclosure.
Another product variant adds an additional enclosure and digital CTs for monitoring V, I and P on two to ten additional downstream three-phase circuits, as well as providing for complete parametric data on the upstream phases.
* Loop Impedance is not reported from transformer installations due to
the very short loop
We needed visibility for our customers LV network and looked for an IoT solution, but couldn't find one. So we set about building one. PowerPilot is the result of the ideas and lots of hard work by our industry-based team that has led to a truly innovative product that we are confident will disrupt the market.
A transformation in energy distribution, giving network managers more information and control. A pervasive network of IoT sensors giving true visibility of LV network performance, enabling smart decisions and optimising asset utilisation. Controllable loads will be intelligently managed through advanced hierarchical loop control algorithms, supporting a true energy transformation.
A system of infrastructure services, software applications and intelligent sensors at the network edge. Deploy smart sensors and controllers over a wide area using LoRaWAN so there is no need to rely on consumer WiFi or expensive cellular uplinks. 32-bit microprocessors, local data storage and integrated WiFi and BLE provide real processing power at the edge and open up many opportunities for our customers. Use HTTP APIs to access PQ, metering and event data, integrating your existing supervisory systems.