Utility network management is complex. When severe weather or natural disasters hit, temporary or permanent damage can occur to the transmission grid. It is estimated that over 80% of network faults can be attributed to short‐term ‘transients’ in supply from disrupted power lines. To combat this, utility companies segment their distribution networks in order to isolate faults to as small a part of the grid as practical, each of which requires always-available real-time connectivity.
BGAN M2M provides reliable, real-time connectivity for Ergon Energy’s power grid – enabling secure, cost effective monitoring and control of their distribution network in remote areas.
Ergon Energy maintains and manages the regional electric distribution network across Queensland, Australia. They provide energy for more than 720,000 homes and businesses, covering 97% of the state of Queensland ‐ more than a million square kilometers.
Ergon Energy have installed hundreds of reclosers throughout their network, with a significant number operating in the most isolated parts of the state, areas in which traditional connectivity methods, such as cellular and terrestrial, are limited or not available. Their requirements for remote connectivity were a single, ubiquitous, reliable network that was impervious to natural disasters and weather events, while providing a high level of security.
Since BGAN M2M is powered by Inmarsat’s global 3G satellite network, Ergon Energy were able to use a direct interconnect to the Australian meet‐me‐point in Sydney to integrate the recloser network into their existing distribution automation network control system.
“The Inmarsat BGAN M2M service has given us access to parts of our distribution network that had remained out of bounds when it comes to remote monitoring and control. We chose Inmarsat for its reliability. Monitoring and controlling a power grid needs a real‐time, always available flow of information and we’re happy to say Inmarsat’s service has been extremely reliable.”
Senior Telecommunications Architect, Ergon Energy
Each recloser uses between 5MB and 15MB of data per month in real time. BGAN M2M’s pooled data plans means that Ergon Energy has complete budget control for their communications needs, since each terminal draws from a shared pool of data.
BGAN M2M provided the reliability, cost effectiveness, security and ease of use that Ergon Energy were looking for to automate and monitor their distribution network, and with the service expected to have an operational lifetime well into the 2020s, BGAN M2M will continue to serve efficiently and effectively for many years to come.
About the technology
Inmarsat’s BGAN M2M service provides reliable and proven satellite connectivity using BGAN M2M certified terminals over Inmarsat’s four L-Band geo-stationary 3G based BGAN satellites. Certified BGAN M2M terminals are discreet, lightweight and feature low power consumption designed for deployment in remote locations, with remote management capability using dedicated BGAN M2M airtime they provide data rates at up to 492 Kbps for access to on-demand IP data, and simultaneous SMS.
About Ergon Energy
Ergon Energy maintains and manages the regional electric distribution network across Queensland, Australia. They provide energy for more than 720,000 homes and businesses, covering 97% of the state of Queensland ‐ more than a million square kilometres. Their distribution network covers some of the most rural parts of Australia, requiring 160,000 kilometres of power lines and more than a million power poles.