Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Demonstration of model-based real-time distribution automation control system. This agreement is an expansion of scope originated in Agreement #10474.(28823)

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.


Moving New York State toward a smarter electric grid that improves both reliability and energy efficiency requires increasing the intelligence of utility transmission and distribution (T&D) systems through creative and cost effective means. These Smart Grid measures will require increased amounts of real-time operating system data coupled with processing and decision making capability that allow for better management, operation and control of the electric delivery system. When properly integrated into utility operations, this can result in cost savings, improved efficiency, environmental benefits, improved reliability and flexibility for New York State’s energy delivery systems. The most prevalent type of distribution automation currently in service relies on equipment that uses simple voltage and/or current inputs to control distribution devices. When specific electrical parameters stray out of a specified range, the equipment reacts to it automatically. This automation approach is unaware of what is taking place on the rest of the system and cannot react to optimize system conditions. At the other extreme, an approach to distribution automation might be to "centrally monitor and control all things". Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. (ORU) is investigating an approach to smart distribution automation, which is between these two approaches.

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Project Description

This project is piloting a manner of smart distribution automation, including smart field equipment coupled to a distribution Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This system is then interfaced to a model-based, real-time command and control system that is a platform for system control and decision making. ORU is demonstrating this automation in a separate proof-of-concept project on two circuits. In this project ORU will outfit 14 circuits with SCADA operable equipment to allow model-based control for fault isolation, outage restoration and coordinated Volt/VAR control. ORU has developed an integrated system model (ISM) of their entire territory using software called DEW. This ISM and fast processing of real-time data are the analytical backbone used for both standard engineering analysis and advanced distribution system command and control. The selected circuits will also be re-designed to create auto-loop circuit pairs with fault clearing reclosers, SCADA operable sectionalizing switches, and SCADA operable switched capacitor banks. Each device mentioned will be SCADA enabled through the cyber secure, wireless communications and hardware. Finally the system will be commissioned for automatic model-based, real-time control. Performance will be monitored and analyzed to validate a cost benefit analysis done in collaboration with EPRI, Brookhaven National Lab and Electrical Distribution Design, the maker of DEW.


Compared to the proof-of-concept demonstration, this pilot scale demonstration is more representative of a full scale, smart distribution automation deployment. The objective of this project is to increase the scale ORU’s smart distribution automation control system over a larger geographical area of 14 additional individual circuits, demonstrate ease of incremental expansion and verify the benefits projected from the smaller proof-of-concept pilot. ORU benefits anticipated from this smart distribution automation demonstration include: 1. Provide a higher level of "blue sky day" reliability and power quality. 2. Improve operational awareness of circuit status to speed response to equipment failures and storms, automate restoration and minimize the extent of outages. 3. Improve operational and maintenance efficiency of transmission and distribution circuits. 4. Minimize real-time losses and maximize system performance from integrated volt/VAR control (IVVC). 5. Improve circuit energy efficiency with phase balancing and optimization and rephrasing of distribution transformers and laterals. 6. Improve real-time transmission line utilization.

Project Results


Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
1 Blue Hill Plz
Pearl River, NY 10965

Principle Investigator

Charlie Scirbona

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Electric Power Delivery

NYSERDA Contact Information

Anthony Abate


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 2/12/2013
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 28823

Last Updated: 9/10/2014