Western Power Distribution begins Midlands roll-out of Simoco Pulse
Written by: Laurence Doe | Published:

​Western Power Distribution (WPD) is set to roll out Simoco Pulse, a DMR telemetry solution, across three sites in its Midlands region during June to manage assets at 100 locations.

The technology was developed following consultation with Surf Telecoms, a wholly owned subsidiary of WPD, which is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the utility network. The Midlands roll-out follows successful trials of Simoco Pulse in the company’s South-East region. The 8,000 data modem installment across the Midlands is part of the three-year programme to upgrade WPD's network, which will expand into the South West and Wales regions after the completion of the Midland's stage.

The move is aimed at improving grid management capabilities and control networks across vast operational areas by ensuring the reliable communication of low band telemetry data. This data can be used to indicate outages, network performance and and operate assets remotely, giving greater insight and control to utilities providers.

“By moving our telemetry data communications to DMR we have a secure and reliable picture of our network and the ability to react quickly when issues occur,” said Kevan Scott, Surf Telecoms manager at WPD. “In the trial areas where the solution has already been installed, WPD’s restoration time has significantly improved and we are looking forward to similar results in the Midlands region.

“Low band data is becoming increasingly important to utilities companies, especially with the ever evolving demands of smart grid technologies, and ensuring we have a reliable and robust communications network for delivering this will mean we are well placed to meet the demands of today and the future.”

“Simoco Pulse delivers resilient and cost-effective telemetry communications across vast operation areas and is ideally suited to the needs of organisations like WPD,” said Mike Norfield, Simoco Group CEO. “During outages engineers need to have immediate visibility as to where issues are likely to have occurred. DMR provides a mission critical approach to the transmission of this data.

"It also means networks can be scaled to include tens of thousands of assets across multiple sites. Having this level of insight in the Midlands region will mean WPD will be able to improve restoration times while also making day-to-day maintenance easier to perform.”

“WPD operates a ‘Target 60’ initiative, which aims to restore power within 60 minutes in the vast majority of cases,” commented Scott during the first Simoco WPD network roll-out announcement. “If lengthy power outages occur, utility companies can be fined heavily by the industry’s regulator if it is not possible to fix them in a quick and cost-effective manner. WPD is committed to serving its customers effectively by seeking out ways to minimise disruption when outages occur, while the insight provided by telemetry systems to monitor and control field operations across a widely dispersed infrastructure, enables us to deliver robust, reliable solutions.

“DMR is a standard that has a proven track record for mission critical communications. While voice transmissions remain an essential part of this mix, low-band telemetry data is just as critical if you are a utility company in 2016. By moving SCADA to DMR we have a secure and reliable picture of our network and the ability to react quickly when issues occur. In the areas where the Simoco Pulse solution has already been installed, WPD’s target of restoring power within 60 minutes of an outage is well on the way to being achieved, meaning we are well placed to meet the demands of today and the future.”

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