How ACS’s pioneering PRISM system handled hurricane force outages
In September 2017, Hurricane Harvey blew through Texas, causing damage and widespread power outages. An ACS customer in South Texas provides electrical generation to electric co-ops serving 241,000 members in forty-two South Texas counties, so when power is not available, those 42 counties are without electricity. The utility had an added challenge – their control center is located on the river, which flooded. Utility employees had to spend the night in the plant, since the roads were closed, but they still managed to restore most of the widespread outages within 3 days.
The ACS PRISMTM SCADA/OMS system operated perfectly. The newly-installed OMS system worked throughout the storm’s duration, automatically generating service tickets and managing crew assignments with mobile capability. The topology processor provided a dynamically colorized version of Google Map of the outage areas, using GridVuTM. An abnormal amount of event alarms and outages were time-tagged and processed in the PRISM SCADA system. The number of customers out of service was calculated and displayed, giving state agencies and officials a view of everything that was happening. ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) was even able to access the web site and view the status of the outages for the entire service area – to the degree that ERCOT did not have to call the utility for updates, leaving all hands free to keep the lights on and restore power. The customer said the ACS PRISM system helped save the day from an operational viewpoint.
The PRISM OMS application with a geographic outage map, applied to a transmission system, is unique to electric transmission (EMS) networks. ACS pioneered Transmission OMS, pertinent to transmission operations with a multi-Voltage level model (built with DASmapTM), map graphics and the transmission specific logic of trouble call analysis.