Computer based remote control of power system equipment simplifies such processes as restoring power to customers blacked out by a fault. For example, control of sectionalizing switches can be done by remote manual control using a SCADA system. SCADA has been a feature of zone substations for at least three decades. With improvements in technology, SCADA has become cost effective for distribution system equipment as well.
Recently, automated FLISR (Fault Location, Isolation and Supply Restoration) products have begun to appear on the market. These products use the SCADA system as “eyes and arms” to gather information about faults and effect the necessary control actions (opening and closing of switches). In the most common architecture, FLISR is a subsystem of a centralized DMS (Distribution Management System). This architecture leverages the existing role of the DMS as a repository for network related data such as connectivity, equipment ratings and historical load records.
Both FLISR architectures rely heavily on SCADA data communications. The centralized architecture is more compatible with existing SCADA communications network architectures, which have traditionally been designed to support centralized monitoring and control. The decentralized architecture works best with peer to peer communications. In either case, cost effective communications with distribution equipment, widely dispersed on poles and in metal cubicles, has been and continues to be difficult to achieve.