The objective is to improve communication between sites through a fully redundant internal communication systems
Founded more than 130 years ago, this regulated, investor owned public utility provides energy service to 3.4-million people across 4,100 square miles, spanning two counties and 25 communities. Its parent company is a Fortune 500 energy service holding company whose subsidiaries provide electricity, natural gas and a wide variety of value-added products and services.
As a cornerstone to modern life, the energy industry is highly vulnerable to hostile threats such as asset loss and damage, personal injury and terrorism. Any disruption to a major energy source presents a serious threat to a nation’s security, economy, and public health and safety. Recognizing the importance of protecting critical infrastructure, the electric provider has designed an advanced security and surveillance system, and developed a comprehensive protection plan that outlines stringent security standards for its unmanned stations.
“Due to the critical nature of our customer base, which includes high-security locations and satellite communications sites, our security measures are quite elevated,” said the company’s security and IT systems specialist, who designed the surveillance system to deliver full coverage at remote sites — a challenging task if using traditional surveillance technologies. The organization looked at several alternative solutions, but few solved its problems without adding costly infrastructure or forcing the company to deviate from its current video management software (VMS) platform. “The MicroPower wireless, solar-powered surveillance solution is a good fit because it allows us to move forward with our security plans without reinventing the wheel, and therefore, saves us a lot in infrastructure costs,” he said.
"The goal of our fully integrated security system, including the MicroPower component, is to boost the efficiency of our security program and enhance communication between sites to further reduce response times"
Currently, the electric service company has more than 2,000 surveillance cameras monitoring 66 substations across the state, all of which are integrated with the company’s Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) system, Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR), video analytics, fence sensing, access control and gunfire detection systems for a complete end-to-end security solution. The company has also begun rolling out the MIcroPower surveillance system at its unmanned substations — a multi-year and multi-tier project — to further enhance perimeter protection and access to remote sites. The addition of the MicroPower system helps increase response times in the event of an incident because it provides operators with an additional layer of situational awareness. The entire security system is monitored live 24x7 at the Security Command Center.
The wireless surveillance system was easily integrated with the provider’s existing Video Management System. “The ability to easily integrate with our systems is absolutely imperative,” said the IT manager, who added that the company plans to broaden integration between the MicroPower system and its American Dynamics PSIM. “The goal of our fully integrated security system, including the MicroPower component, is to boost the efficiency of our security program and enhance communication between sites to further reduce response times.”
A key objective of its critical infrastructure protection plan is to improve communication between sites through secure and fully redundant internal communication systems. “Because many of our substations are situated miles from the nearest city, network security is a top priority,” he stated. With a unique wireless protocol that helps maintain secure and reliable data transmission, the MicroPower surveillance platform delivers secure, live video data 24x7. “With enhanced communication between our command center and unmanned substations, we are better equipped to address potential security threats in real-time.”
Full Coverage and Cost Savings
Requiring no wires or trenching, the MIcroPower wireless cameras were deployed quickly and efficiently, saving the company thousands in initial infrastructure costs. “Our two-year plan includes rolling out the MicroPower surveillance system wherever we can to save trenching and infrastructure costs,” he confirmed.
Not only will the company save
The electric entity will also enjoy significant cost savings beyond the system’s initial installation. “Power substations have megawatts of power available, but ironically, it can cost up to $100,000 to step this high voltage power down to standard 110 volt capability,” he explained. Requiring only a single 1.2-square-foot solar panel, each MicroPower camera uses only a nominal 3/4 Watts of power to capture and transmit live video up to a ½ mile away, and continually operates for five days in inclement weather situations. “As a wireless, solar-powered solution, the MicroPower platform can be deployed in our substations for less than half the cost of a traditional surveillance system.” With the targeted two-year plan, the company stands to save close to $5,000,000 in capital costs — 10 times the initial cost of the MicroPower surveillance system itself.
Boosting Operational Efficiencies and Optimising Safety
Committed to remaining fiscally responsible and financially successful for its stakeholders, the organization is always looking for ways to enhance customer service, boost operational efficiencies and reduce costs. “By deploying the MicroPower solution, we are taking steps to better protect our corporate assets while remaining cost-conscious,” the IT and security director noted. Not only will the company save significant and ongoing operational costs, it will also be able to remotely monitor its substations to make more informed decisions about operational processes and respond to changing system demands as needed. “Leveraging the MicroPower wireless surveillance system, various departments across the organization can review tasks, boost productivity and potentially cut costs.”
The electric provider puts the safety of the community and its employees first. As a wireless, solar-powered solution, the MicroPower system can be installed in high-risk remote areas and then easily redeployed to other security hot spots for more targeted and fuller coverage, helping the company achieve its security goals. “The MicroPower platform enables us to better secure our remote locations, while ensuring employee health and safety compliance,” he said. “As a result, we can remain focused on providing affordable, innovative, reliable and clean energy options that will contribute to a prosperous future for all.”