A Finnish electricity company Tornionlaakson Sähkö Oy is one of the central electrical companies in Northern Finland. The outdated radio network system had to be modernized, because extending the existing system would have been challenging and the company wanted to make the maintenance easier. The system was modernized to an IP-based solution and SATEL was chosen as the partner.
Tornionlaakson Sähkö Oy’s main task is to secure the distribution of electricity in a wide area in the North of Finland. The customers include households, travel destinations and other businesses.
The company chose SATEL’s independent radio technology because they were not impressed by the operation or controllability of operator driven networks.
Modernization started with a pilot project
SATEL assisted in the pilot in Ylläs by offering equipment for a test use. Based on these test, the reception was even better than in the old network. During the pilot phase, a challenge in the network was detected, but it was solved with the aid from SATEL’s technical support.
– The assistance strengthened the trust even further and secured the idea of taking the maintenance of the system to our own hands. Based on experience, price is not the only decisive factor in planning a wider network that needs to work for several years onwards. What is also important is the genuine willingness of the equipment provider to be a part of the development as a whole. I value greatly that I can discuss matters with the people I know and who know our challenges, say control engineer Jouni Koskenniemi from Tornionlaakson Sähkö Oy.
As an adjacent solution, Tornionlaakson Sähkö has their own fibre network for disconnector stations but it is limited mainly to city plan. Also, in this case the sight must be connected to a node. Radiotechnology does not have this limitation.
Data transfers in real time
The system transfers mainly the status information of the disconnectors and controls remote operating system’s battery voltage and enclosure’s temperature. The information is transferred to SCADA system from the disconnector stations located in different sides of the distribution network.
It is extremely important to be able to change the connection if a malfunction occurs. The distribution network has many nodes through which an alternative input route can be organized. This is also part of the normal daily routine when the network is deployed and maintained. Remotely controlled disconnectors can be used for changing the network’s connection without having to send the installers to the site.
A system that can be extended
The system consists of over 60 SATEL XPRS IP radios and a few SATELLINE-EASy radio modems. The network is continuously extended and because of the positive experiences of the reliability of SATEL’s IP radios and fast data transfer, there will also be new remote stations based on this technology.
– We are transferring the communication of the whole remote operating system to our own control in a private network. The system has been constructed actively for three years, Koskenniemi says.
Security and operational reliability
The benefits of SATEL’s radio technology include security: a closed network is totally in the client’s own hands and the continuous communication is secured during black out situations.
Own planning, configuration, installation and maintenance enable fast reactions.
– Operating reliability has improved greatly, because of the knowledge of the system has risen to a level where many problems can be analysed by ourselves. This shortens the reaction time for interruptions. The sights can be monitored and controlled in real time. In the future, outage in the connection can be caught before it interrupts daily functions, Koskenniemi praises.