|MicroPower solar-powered solution has provided with the ability to shift from overall situational awareness to situation assessment|
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 critical asset to the local economy, this energy distribution utility faces a variety of risks including physical and cyber intrusions, asset loss and damage, community personnel safety, and terrorism. In addition, all energy systems and processes have to be highly reliable and available — downtime is not an option. The disruption of energy services can result in millions of customers being without essential power.
Looking to maximize system uptime and reduce the personnel costs associated with visits to remote and high-risk areas, the company sought a technology solution to monitor operations, specifically at remote distribution lines. The need to continually monitor systems at such remote locations is paramount, but it can be a difficult business case to justify and solve. In this particular instance, the organization wanted to observe weather and environmental conditions from a central location to readily identify threats to lines and other assets. “We employ three full-time meteorologists to anticipate adverse weather conditions, which allows us to provide an early warning of imminent risks to system operations,” noted the project architect.
Maintaining the security, and integrity, of the energy grid is of the upmost importance but the company also recognized the significance of adding video to monitor for adverse conditions to better assess the risk and deploy resources accordingly. Video surveillance can provide operations, physical security and IT teams with a new way to proactively monitor for possible threats while delivering new levels of situational awareness.
The MicroPower Solution
Video surveillance technology was considered a natural fit for this gas and electric company’s needs but traditional systems were quickly found to be limited by cumbersome power and networking requirements. Because of the distribution lines’ remote location, it was considered too costly to embark on a trenching project to add additional infrastructure. Still convinced that video surveillance technology could assist with its needs, the organization looked at various remote surveillance platforms.
"We employ three full-time meteorologists to anticipate adverse weather conditions." says the project architect
During its search, it found MicroPower Technologies, a video surveillance technology provider that develops solutions that deliver energy management, sustainable energy and remote location options. The gas and electric provider closely evaluated MicroPower’s solar-powered, wireless surveillance platforms, which offer an energy-efficient, compact, redeployable design. The MicroPower platform is a powerful and highly reliable surveillance solution that enables users to achieve video coverage in perimeter and remote outdoor areas for enhanced security and operations monitoring.
Operating on less than one Watt, each MicroPower surveillance camera captures and transmits live streaming video up to a 1/2 mile away, and provides reliable performance for up to five days on a single charge of its integrated, solar-powered, long-life battery pack, and continuously recharges with available sunlight.
For this application and use case, the camera system wirelessly transmits video to a central hub, which is housed within a NEMA enclosure, and powered by an auxiliary solar panel and deep cycle batteries. A cellular modem was integrated as well, providing network access to the video from numerous customer locations. In addition, MicroPower open platform design allows for of integration with the company’s existing VMS platform.
With MicroPower’s solution, this energy provider now has the ability to remotely monitor its remote transmission and distribution lines to make informed decisions about operational processes and respond to changing environmental conditions as needed. Operators can limit site visits, using time saved for other critical tasks to boost productivity and cut costs. It also allows the company to better protect personnel from risk of injury and deliver quick response in the event of an emergency. By increasing efficiencies and lowering costs, the MicroPower solar-powered, wireless surveillance solution has provided this leading energy company with the ability to shift from overall situational awareness to situation assessment, resulting in greater customer service and satisfaction.