Interview with Paulo Cesar Pranskevicius, Automation Manager, AES Eletropaulo

By Adriano Rehder, Conference Producer, Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America

Currently, there is much being said about smart grid, with a special emphasis on metering developments (AMI). However, there are many other fields within electrical distribution where smart technology advancements are being used, such as IT, telecommunications infrastructure, client relations, distribution automation, etc. How do the investments in distribution automation support the implementation of a smart grid?

Smart grid is an electrical grid management concept based on information received from the grid. This information may originate from electronic meters as well as from the distribution automation, such as fault sensors and digital relays and network protectors installed at a substation. In order for all this information to be organized, it is necessary to have in place a distribution management system (DMS), outage management system (OMS), and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), all of which must be integrated in a manner that enables the data sent from the equipment to be converted into information, allowing the agent to make quick decisions and to assist the call center team.

How did AES Eletropaulo take on the technological advancement within the field of automation systems, protection and telecommunications? In this context, what is currently operational and what are the expected future developments?

Technological advancement has been very quick in the last few years, with the development of microprocessor relays, more efficient digital radios and stronger systems. AES Eletropaulo is on the forefront of these technologies, supported by an automation laboratory, investments in training, contracting and retaining human talent.  Based on these aspects, we installed a backbone between all the substations, delivering high availability through an optic fiber network and digital radios, replacing all the remote terminal units (RTUs) with a response time of 1 ms and logic processing.

In 2011 we will have the first stations operating in the self healing system and automatic load transfer between the stations. By 2013, all the stations will have digital relays used to protect circuits and transformers, and the DMS and OMS systems will be upgraded.

How will the implementation of these technologies benefit the customers?

Customers will benefit from the increased network information that we have, enabling us to locate a fault quicker, be it through the relays, fault sensors or the electronic meters. As an example, the electromechanical relay protects the network and sends a signal to disconnect a specific piece of equipment and with the digital relay we know, in real and remote time, which phase was operated and the respective intensity of the current, leading the teams to the site and, therefore, reducing the time it takes to locate the problem. In future, when all clients have an electronic meter, it will no longer be necessary to contact the call center as we will know who is without current. The customer will also be able to control energy consumption through the web or via a monitor installed at the consumption point.

Another aspect where there will be increased interaction from the client will be when he/she has an electric vehicle and the vehicle’s battery may be charged during off peak periods.

What is the current degree of integration of the SCADA with the DMS/OMS at AES Eletropaulo?

Presently, the SCADA system provides real time information through the Inter-Control Center Communications Protocol (ICCP) to a module that manages a relational data base named BDO, which, in turn, enables the common access of this information to applications and operating systems.

How does the georeferencing asset work at AES Eletropaulo?

All distribution network assets installed in AES Eletropaulo’s concession area are registered in the GIS system that uses ESRI technology and software such as ArcInfo, ArcEditor, ArcSDE and ArcIMS and ArcFM of Miner & Miner, which enable the mapping of the entire electrical energy distribution network.

Lastly, on June 7 there was an extratropical cyclone in São Paulo which caused power failures in various parts of the state. The media in general and, in particular, the Energy Office in São Paulo ascribed the disconnections to AES Eletropaulo’s lack of investment in the distribution infrastructure. Please provide your comment, taking into account the above observations.

AES Eletropaulo is making increased investments every year. In 2010, R$682 million (US$384 million) was invested and we anticipate an investment of R$784 million (US$441 million) in 2011, of which 51% will be for maintenance and 34% for expansion of the present system. We highlight the investments made in automation, such as the installation of digital relays in 100 stations in 2011 and the installation of 3,000 reconnecting keys by the end of 2012.

Regarding the event that took place on June 7, it was marked by winds of over 100 km/h, and the SCADA system supported all remote controlled operations, assisted by the high communication backbone availability and the reliability of onsite equipment. After this event, electricity to 96% of customers was restored within 24 hours, showing the agility and efficiency of AES Eletropaulo in extreme emergency situations. A similar event had occurred in September 1999.

For more on AES Eletropaulo’s smart grid activities, attend Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America in São Paulo, Brazil October 25-27.