Electricity distributor PKS Sähkönsiirto (PKSS) operates a network over 21,000 km with 88,000 delivery points in Finland. Harsh weather conditions make it important to plan and maintain the network.
Keilalahdentie 2-4 FI-02150 Espoo Finland
New pressures from new regulation
The 2013 Electricity Market Act lays down strict rules about delivery reliability, giving distribution companies a 15-year transition period to achieve maximum interruption limits of six hours in densely populated areas and 36 hours in rural areas.
This caused an imminent need to develop the network to comply with the new regulations. A study commissioned by the company showed that nearly two thirds of the network must be enhanced for better resistance to storms and snow, resulting in a nearly 50 percent increase in annual network investment. Furthermore, network unit costs have multiplied over the years.
Digitalising for up-to-date overall status information
In addition to operational challenges, the new situation brought about significant financial challenges. Together, these challenges led to the necessity to digitalise as much of the network operations as possible.
It is a tall order for any company to plan, time and synchronise investment, maintenance, construction and logistics for the optimal total outcome, let alone for a distribution company that is exposed to unexpected disturbances due to weather conditions and penalties for service interruptions.
As PKSS was already using a network planning and documentation solution by Tieto, after serious deliberation the decision was made to carry out the modernisation with Tieto.
“In network management, it is not enough to part-optimise. Having a comprehensive picture, including operation, maintenance and investments, is the most important thing”, says Jukka Ahonen, Network Development Manager, PKSS.
Driving down operational cost
The new process and tools from Tieto have made operational planning more effective. As external service providers, such as network contractors, can be connected to the same system, it provides an end-to-end operations chain. The solution helps follow and analyse bottlenecks and problems while enabling focus on the most important issues and changes that need to be implemented first.
When digitalisation has made it possible to update documentation on the spot in real-time, error-prone manual processes can be avoided. For example, network maps no longer need to be redrawn, instead, they are updated in the field – providing an immediate, single, reliable source for everyone involved. Data in the system is correct and always up-to-date, significantly shortening the time needed for project reporting and analysis.
PKSS estimates that Tieto’s solution will, in the long run, enable the company to cut its operational costs by up to 15 percent.
End-to-end solution benefits all parties
“The comprehensiveness of the system is the primary benefit for us”, says Ahonen. “One system can handle everything – including customer service, which allows us to stay up-to-date about the entire status of the network from many angles. Tools are included for all the jobs that a distribution network operator needs to accomplish; and when the operational chain reaches contractors, day-to-day planning is much more effective than having a small number of manual steps in the process.”
Digitalising the system also helps PKSS to keep on schedule with its network renewal target, thereby assisting in investment planning and timing investments with operational and maintenance schedules.