TWACS® (Two Way Automatic Communication System) technology is the pre-eminent two-way power line communication (PLC) system for utilities deploying automatic information technologies, with over 8 million two-way devices installed or under contract.
DCSI’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) provides utilities with a true two-way communication system and associated transponder products for AMR, interval data retrieval, time-of-use/critical peak pricing, on-demand reads, load management and profiling, demand response, line voltage monitoring, outage management, tamper/leak/theft detection, remote hard disconnect, prepay metering, short-hop radio frequency (RF) metering and additional advanced technologies.
TWACS communication technology is unique, in that the patented modulation of the voltage waveform at the zerocrossing point results in a communication system that uses the utility’s network at the frequency for which it was designed and built. As a utility’s service area expands, so expands the TWACS AMI system, without additional costs of systemsupporting infrastructure. Data can be transmitted through any transformer or wiring configuration. TWACS communication requires no line conditioning or repeaters, and is not affected by capacitor banks, noise harmonics, feeder switching or underground to overhead transitions.
Call centre personnel can accurately respond to high bill complaints and make on-request reads in less than 20 seconds while the customer stays on the phone, making this a virtual real-time data delivery system. Interval data collected by the TWACS system can also be used to support customer enquiries, as well as for dynamic load profiling and/or interval billing for direct access scenarios.
Data can be shared with other market participants via access to the Oracle relational database, application programming interface (API) calls or import/export file formats. Since TWACS technology provides two-way communication to, and into, each home and business, opportunities exist for communicationbased consumer services, including energy efficiency, billing options, home automation and remote site monitoring.
Load management technology continues to be a driving force behind a utility’s reason to automate. TWACS multifunctional load control capabilities reduce highest-cost peak demand by creating the optimum diversity of deferrable loads without impacting energy sales, resulting in improved load factor. The system avoids creation of new peaks during automatic load restoration, under system control or upon command. TWACS technology measures effectiveness by recording whether or not load is on at the time of shed cycle. It also minimises the impact of inrush current that follows an extended outage by initiating cold load pickup.
TWACS Outage Assessment System (OASys™) leverages TWACS system connectivity to provide an electric utility with valuable outage and distribution system reliability information. With the selection of a protective device or service transformer, a random sample of associated meters (or a specific meter) can be checked. If an outage is discovered, the system immediately notifies the system operator via e-mail or pager. If the traverse network function is enabled, the network is examined upstream and downstream from selected devices to find and determine the extent of an outage event. Based on the extent of the system not reached, the programme provides the scope of the meters inferred to be offline. OASys™ also enables the monitoring of restoration progress and power delivery reliability.
TWACS by DCSI was developed in 1978, and has proven to meet the basic needs of the utility marketplace for the past two decades. Customers who deployed the TWACS system early in its history continue to deploy the system today – meeting expanded customer bases and applying new system features.
DCSI’s utility customers have chosen TWACS technology for large-scale deployment because of its inherent predictability and favourable economics. The costeffectiveness of the TWACS system is unaffected by population density, terrain and service territory characteristics that typically limit or preclude other technology applications, and system-supporting infrastructure is already in place. The integrity of DCSI’s system is an outgrowth of strategic research and development, superior design and production practices, and proactive field service. DCSI maintains a strong avenue of communication with TWACS clients via an interactive customer care programme.
Whether the reason to install an automated system is operations efficiency, healthier cash flow, improved customer satisfaction, or the ability to apply multiple valueadded service, the TWACS system is the tool for the industry – today and tomorrow.