Apr 2013
Electricity Distribution
DNO Trial of Power Line Carrier (PLC) to Support Low Voltage SCADA
Apr 2013
SP Energy Networks
SP Energy Networks Innovation
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Comms & IT
While PLC is predominantly focussed on smart meter data collection, it also includes functionality suitable for DNO applications and operational communications, including event alarm reporting at low voltage substations and support for Demand Side Management (DSM) similar to that due to be lost when the existing RTS is closed (2017 or soon after).

This project arises from Alcatel Lucent / Parsons Brinckerhoffs Expression of Interest in the DCC programme which involves the use of substation connected Low Voltage Power Line Carrier (LVPLC) as a primary means of communications with each customer's home hub (end point) coupled with Alcatel Lucent / Parsons Brinckerhoffs assertion that this technology has wider application than simple meter management and could deliver future benefits to DNOs.

The operation of LVPLC signalling systems within GBlow voltage interconnected urban environments has yet to be tested. Therefore, there is some concern by DNOs about the practical issues around LVPLC deployment, including safe working procedures in live low voltage cabinets, such that PLC data concentrator installation can be effected without interruption to customers' supplies. The project is to trial this technology in the above situations to evaluate the performance.

The project has established the following objectives:

  • Demonstrate no interruption to supplies during installation of LVPLC data concentrator at distribution substation(s)

  • Prepare a safe working method statement for routine data concentrator installation

  • Demonstrate the collection of routine data (as a proxy for revenue meter data) from PLC devices

  • Demonstrate the ability to collect non routine data (voltage, current, power quality, interruption messages) at each data concentrator and to dispatch operational message to / from a remote control system.