The Oracle Utilities Network Management System Enables Better Energy Grid Performance

Oracle is introducing a new Oracle Utilities Network Management System feature to help utilities navigate the fast-evolving energy grid and rapidly expanding distributed energy resources (DERs).

New automated grid management and built-in AI will enable utilities to better orchestrate and control DER and grid-edge devices, boost network visibility with real-time insights, and provide a unified user experience across multiple platforms, according to Oracle.

New Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) alarm triggers also alert staff to critical network information so they can act faster to resolve issues and to commission points and devices quickly to optimize network performance.

An Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), Oracle Utilities NMS is designed to help utilities meet today’s needs and prepare for future needs by monitoring, managing, and effectively optimizing the grid from electric distribution to the edge of the grid.

Used by six of the top 10 U.S. utilities, Oracle Utilities NMS supports more than 61 million customers.

New features introduced include:

  • Grid Edge DERMS: Using built-in AI and machine learning, Oracle Utilities NMS now allows utilities to better monitor, control, and optimize behind-the-meter devices. A new web interface with built-in templates allows users to more easily manage strategies and events, such as executing control over load devices including thermostats during high peak load periods.
  • AMI Meter Pinging: It is not uncommon for field crews to restore power following an outage event, only to find that some customers are still without power. This latest release allows crews to ping AMI meters and quickly see if any downstream nested outages remain, avoiding return trips and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Common Network Viewer: Operations personnel need a consistent user experience to more efficiently view and interact with the distribution network map. This release provides a performant, unified look and feel for touch-enabled map user interaction for Oracle Utilities NMS Flex Operations and Oracle Utilities Operations Mobile Application. This improves the effectiveness of map interactions such as panning and zooming and enhances the display of conductor highlights, phases, text annotations, map backdrops, and other network information.
  • Enhanced Digital Field Enablement: Dispatchers and field supervisors need to have all relevant data at their fingertips as they remotely manage outages and crews. Oracle Utilities NMS Flex Operations also now offers enhanced touch capabilities on tablet-sized devices, enabling workers to more easily swipe and pinch to navigate tables, forms, and maps. Device responsiveness support includes the ability to automatically change the layout to support different screen sizes and screen orientations, such as landscape versus portrait.
  • Open Source Operational Technology Middleware: A new Linux version of Oracle Utilities Live Energy Connect (LEC) provides operations middleware to support fast system and device integrations across all major communications protocols with low integration cost and low complexity. With a field-proven operational message bus and flexible OT architecture, the technology supports extreme scale as a utility’s needs grow. For enhanced stability supporting expanding grids, each LEC Server is split into different microservices that can quickly be restarted without bringing down the server. Services also can be clustered—if one fails it is seamlessly replaced by another—with clusters spread across machines to help protect against hardware failure.

“Distribution operators need an integrated ADMS platform that fully models distributed energy resources, expands automated grid management, improves customer service, and reduces costs across operations,” said Brad Harkavy, vice president of product, Oracle Energy and Water. “With new features—from stronger control over surging DERs and grid devices to more reliable confirmation of successful restoration efforts—the latest version of Oracle Utilities NMS is fueling grid evolution at scale. As a result, we are enabling dramatic improvements in system stability, efficiency, and safety while driving down operating costs with our focus on productized solutions.”

Seamlessly integrated with Oracle Utilities Live Energy Connect, Oracle Utilities Flex SCADA module is delivered and supported within Oracle Utilities NMS.

The latest version includes enhanced alarms to alert staff to critical information on the network and improved limits capabilities to support unlimited limit bands, hysteresis, and temporary limit overrides. Additionally, SCADA engineers can now commission SCADA points and devices faster to help optimize network performance and reduce operational cost.

Flex SCADA gives utilities an integrated, real-time grid ADMS platform with a single user interface. It can easily integrate data from existing Distribution Automation, field, consumer and IoT devices, legacy SCADA platforms, DERs, and grid-edge sensor points across a wide array of communications protocols. With the offering, utilities get the core distribution SCADA capabilities required across medium and low voltage networks.

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