TransGrid- Asset Monitoring Information Plan

1. Executive Summary

TransGrid manages a high voltage electricity network with over 13000 km of transmission lines, 109 substations, the associated monitoring equipment contains around 40000 SCADA and 10000 on-line condition monitoring points. This is augmented by work management, load data, geospatial and meteorological data contained within corporate and external information systems.

Rapid access to network information is essential to providing effective and timely response to events, particularly in emergencies such as the recent bushfires. Existing systems required personnel to access multiple and disparate information systems.

To remedy this TransGrid has developed a bespoke ‘Asset Monitoring Information Platform’ that allows monitoring and managing asset information from multiple systems into different viewports (or contexts) in a purpose built Asset Monitoring Centre. This solution is providing better response and reduced outage time lowering cost and improving reliability.

2. Description of Project

2.1 TransGrid’s Information Objectives

TransGrid Asset Management Policy and associated Network Asset Strategy establish commitment to providing a safe and reliable network at the lowest cost to the consumer. Transmission services are a small component of the average electricity bill, but we recognise that the way we manage our business still has a direct impact on customers every day.

“Delivering value to the community by sustaining a safe and reliable network and developing this to efficiently meet the future energy needs of our customers.”Paul Italiano CEO

Critical to achieving this goal is the ability to make informed decisions when operating the network. This requires visibility and accessibility to accurate and timely asset information. This is particularly important during emergency events such as the recent bushfire emergencies. The information available to the network operators must:

  • Provide the context to an event with respect to an asset’s criticality, value, life-cycle, maintenance history and future plans.
  • Allow rapid and efficient diagnosis of an issue.
  • Facilitate the best response to the location with the appropriate resources and tools in the right timeframe.
  • Reduce outage times by facilitating improved ways to manage the operation of the asset portfolio.
  • Be available in an emergency room situation where an emergency response team is activated.

This is aligned with TransGrid’s Asset Management Information Strategy objective to ensure that information meet six dimensions of data governance as shown in Figure 1. This assurance is in alignment with ITIL V3 and ISO27001.

Figure 1 – TransGrid’s data governance dimensions

2.2 The Asset Monitoring Information Platform

TransGrid manages over 13,000 km of transmission lines and 109 substations. The associated monitoring equipment (Operational Technology) contains around 40,000 SCADA and 10,000 on-line condition monitoring points. This is augmented by information contained within Enterprise Information Technology and external systems such as load data, fire information and weather data.

To improve TransGrid’s ability to operate the network an Asset Monitoring Centre (AMC) has been established beside the main operations room. The scope of the AMCs oversight and types of information reviewed is shown in Figure 2. This provides continuous monitoring of the health of network assets to efficiently respond to any events, including emergencies that occur while allowing operators to respond to direct network operational requirements.

Figure 2 – Asset Monitoring Centre Responsibility

Converge information from OT and ERP systems? Reactions:
– Are you joking?
– Impossible!
– Will never happen.
– Do it somewhere else.
– Why?

Hindering the capability of the AMC to perform its responsibilities was difficulty in accessing multiple and disparate sources of information (every asset is supplied with its own interface and management software). This identified an opportunity to improve efficiency by developing an information platform that provides the ability to collect, aggregate, monitor and analyse asset data from multiple systems and different viewpoints (or contexts) in a single location, an ‘Asset Monitoring Information Platform’ (AMIP).

The AMIP was based around four fundamental requirements:

  • Situational presentation of information
    • Strategic asset and operational viewpoints
    • Topological appreciation using interactive maps
    • Event capture, replay and prediction
  • Leveraging off existing information sources without being limited by existing constraints of the source system.
  • Simplify data structures to produce a convergent view of asset information and transform asset management and operational data in events and measurements.
  • Storage of long term data for Asset Management trending and strategy input.

A challenge was identified that this required the integration of data from numerous systems that use different asset structures, different data structures, different naming conventions and identifiers. This was made particularly difficult due the separation of Operational Technology (OT) and Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) and resulting internal resistance by process and system owners. The complication keeping OT and ERP systems data apart existed due to information security and licence requirements that needed physical separation of OT and corporate information systems. Development of a specialised solution was required to address this challenge and deliver the functional requirements. The solution also needed to accommodate the practical difficulties of being moved to a different location or being used for a different purpose over its lifecycle.

The answer to this challenge was to observe that the assets themselves are central to their management and that everything either happens to an asset (an Event) or something is recorded about an asset (a Measurement). A set of translators were developed that connected the corporate information from a number of sources and ingest the information into a ‘common model’. This was performed while respecting strict information security requirements. In the future as TransGrid improves its data standards across systems it is planned to reduce the need for this complex data translation.

The adoption of an innovative common model allows the integration of information from disparate sources and creates a common understanding. The adoption of a standards based model leverages off industry best practice, allows for future expansion and translation between existing standard models and takes advantage of supported interfaces supplied by technology vendors.

The inputs that feed into the AMIP are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 – Information inputs to the AMIP

The AMIP has allowed the joint display of secure OT information, external data and general corporate information in a single display.

A key data source for AMIP is the operational systems that control the electrical network. This data is highly sensitive/high volume time series data and will be accommodated via a specific data model that mirrors the control system SCADA structures. This data was integrated via PI Asset Framework that links operational data to the asset register using the data model and translation provided by TransGrid considering the challenges in Table 1. This means that the AMIP data store includes a specific and separate data store for operational events and measures that supports a highly secured model for sensitive high voltage load data.

The AMIP solution is based on OSISoft PI technology such as PI Data Archive and Vision and incorporates a geographic view provided by ESRI/ArcGIS as illustrated in Figure 4. The visualisations and user interface are presented via standard browser-based interfaces. Features of this interface include the following:

  • Browser/mobile access to all Asset Information (lists, tables, charts etc.)
  • User configurable visual displays/portlets (drag and drop)
  • User configurable trending, analysis and alerting
  • PI Event Frames to link information related to an event, publish to interested parties, backfill from historical data and predictive alerting for future events with similar characteristics
  • Customisable Map interface with numerous filters
  • Data access facilities for Excel and Business Intelligence tools
  • Extensible model to add additional sources and service new viewpoints

Table 1 – Data translation challenges

Multiple Sources and Data ModelsThe data required is currently held in a number of systems. Typically these systems present asset information in various forms to suit the specific needs of these systems not downstream access or analysis. Accessing is time consuming and difficult to compare between systems.
Multiple IdentifiersDespite a common theme around assets in use there are significant differences in the way equipment is identified that must be resolved to facilitate integration.
Lack of Historical DataThe maintenance of historical information on assets varies making sourcing data for whole of life and trending analysis difficult.
Manual Data IntegrationData preparation for asset analysis and planning often involves sourcing data from several systems and significant manual activity to link and transform the data to make it fit for purpose.
Quality IssuesData quality varies and is based on localised need that requires manual data error detection and cleansing.
Snapshots OnlyThe current limitations tends towards adopting a snapshot view approach   (i.e. point-in-time in lieu of current state) often due to the amount of time and effort required to gather and transform the data into a usable form.
TimelinessThe data is held in different systems. The information is required in real time if it is to be effective during emergencies.

Figure 4 – TransGrid PI Environment

Figure 5 shows a sample display that has been developed for AMC Operators, with labels indicating the types of consolidated information that is available to the AMC staff.

Figure 5 – Sample AMIP Interface through PiVision

2.3 Program and Project Management

The implementation of the AMIP was undertaken in conjunction with a full upgrade to the Asset Monitoring Centre and governed via TransGrid’s prescribed capital investment processes. This process involved:

  1. Identification of the need – this focused on the requirement for real-time access to disparate information to enable efficient and effective management of the network by operators and asset managers.
  2. Development of a business case – this included a full evaluation of options including ‘do nothing’ along with a comprehensive risk assessment and clearly defined benefits of the preferred option. This was approved for development of the AMC in 2015 with an initial development of a temporary AMC implemented within existing office space.
  3. Approval of project commencement – the first decision gate in TransGrid’s investment governance process included:
    1. The development of a fully functional AMC in a dedicated area adjacent to the operations control room of AMC development. This area includes a situation room that is utilised in emergencies by emergency management teams. External design expertise was engaged with experience in ensuring human factors were considered in the final layout.
    1. Included in the scope was a requirement for access to all corporate and secure data sources such as corporate data networks, SCADA, telecommunications, etc.
  4. Development of a finalised scope and budget – this second approval gate in TransGrid’s governance process allows for actual build and development of the project to commence including development of the Asset Monitoring Information Platform. This approval was obtained in October 2017.
  5. The construction of the permanent AMC was complete in early 2019 with the practical completion of the AMIP in February 2020 as shown in Figure 6.

The scope for delivery included two components to the software, a data integration platform capable of and a visualisation tool provides customisable data analytics and dashboards:

  • A fit-for-purpose and extensible Asset Data Model
  • An Asset data collection, integration and storage platform.

The AMIP Data Integration component was based on commercially available software but included elements of custom development to establish common information model and asset identification. This was required to overcome the challenges previously described. The AMIP Visualisation and Analysis component was developed based on commercially available software that requires setup and configuration and development of custom analysis and reports.

A tender was issued and vendor responses were obtained for AMIP’s Visualisation and Analysis software and implementation services. The preferred vendor was selected after demonstration and preliminary testing.

Figure 6 – TransGrid’s Asset Monitoring Centre

The project utilised proven project management principles to manage risk and ensure successful delivery. As the delivery of this project required the input from multiple systems and stakeholders a governance structure as show in Figure 7 was developed.

Figure 7 – AMIP Project Governance Structure

3. Benefits

The development of the AMIP has provided significant improvements that will be to the benefit of TransGrid’s stakeholders and electricity consumers. There has already been some direct operational benefit during the recent 2019/20 bushfire emergencies with an emergency management team stood-up in the AMC situation room. The availability of real time information from all data sources greatly enhanced the team’s ability to make informed decisions.

A summary of benefits includes:

  • Developing a solution that has allowed display of sensitive network data side by side with information available from standard corporate and external information systems.
  • A reduction in call-out costs by using visual verification of system issues to reduce the number of unnecessary call-outs, and the flow on effects of the reduction in stand-down time, increased achievement in planned works and the reduction in re-planning of work.
  • Consolidation of analysis staff and the coordination of consistent responses to system events and incidents.
  • Using data interrogation to ensure the right people are dispatched, with the right materials to the right location at the right time.
  • Utilising data interrogation and existing CCTV systems to minimise maintenance call-outs and deferring responses to normal hours when appropriate.
  • Using data to analyse populations and individual assets to extend the life of assets and Support refurbishment and replacement programs.
  • Using data to analyse populations and individual assets to transition toward condition based maintenance including minimising intrusive maintenance, deferring routine maintenance if condition is acceptable and transitioning to predictive maintenance.
  • The ability of being able to ultimately perform full time monitoring of non-prescribed telecommunications assets.
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