Energy management system continues stellar reliability

Great River Energy’s energy management system (EMS), which is a sophisticated computer system used to control generation and transmission assets, has been highly reliable from 2012 to 16, with average availability hovering at 99.97 percent.

Last year was no exception as the system was available to Great River Energy’s system operators and members 99.96 percent of the time.

“Members can have peace of mind in knowing the system Great River Energy uses to monitor and control the infrastructure that serves their customers is highly reliable, operating all year with very little downtime,” said Dick Pursley, Great River Energy’s manager of system operations.

That said, no computer system is perfect and some outages were recorded. In 2017, there were only two outages lasting longer than 30 minutes. Both had minimal impact on Great River Energy and member operations.

There were 27 EMS outages recorded in 2017 and, of those, 23 lasted five minutes or less. All in all, the system was down for three hours and 49 minutes in 2017 – or the average length of a family road trip.

Fifteen members and two municipal utilities also rely on the system for their distribution management system (DMS), which is a system that generally does the same thing as the EMS, except it is used for distribution system operations.

“Members who subscribe to this system to perform their DMS functions can count on it to reliably monitor and operate their distribution system,” Pursley said.

The majority of EMS outages are not complete system outages. Many are individual work station outages, which are easily resolved.