IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - 32

Interface standardization produces a win-win scenario: the interfaces
have a low cost, and software companies feel safe because their
proprietary information and solution methods are not exposed.
utility business process. The granularity of the data is maintained for any vendor through the overall process.
By implementing an interoperability standard between
vendors, WIN Energy overcame the challenges and continued to add more interoperable interfaces through time. Now,
it has achieved information flow processes between multiple
distinct systems and endpoints. Examples of the processes
and connections between seven systems and endpoints are
given in Figure 6. WIN Energy implements the interfaces in
close collaboration with several vendors. The following list
provides a sampling of the interoperable interfaces that the
utility implemented and discusses the benefits of each:
✔ CIS-to-staking and staking-to-CIS: This eliminates the
previously required custom-made dynamic link libraries and parsing. The utility has roughly 100 work orders per month with an average of 600 entries for unitto-continuing-property-record conversion. Manually,
that process takes approximately 1 min/entry, or 10 h/
month. With an interoperable interface, it is instantaneous, saving a number of labor-hours every year.
✔ CIS-AMI and AMI-CIS: This enables the transfer of
data, such as meter deployments and readings, status
changes, and customer information to the customer service representatives, who are able to provide better responses to members because the daily (and hourly) meter
reads are available, thus saving labor hours.
✔ AMI-OMS: This shows WIN Energy the blink count (a
tally of power outages lasting 5 min or fewer) and outage status graphically and in tabular form. This enables
the blinks to be identified and defines the real extent of
an outage. The system provides a tool for outage detection followed by separate verification. Graphically displaying meters with a "lost" status in the OMS enables
outage detection and durations to be visually presented,
facilitating the better use of resources. In the past, without a good OMS or engineering model interfacing with
an AMI system, a member complaint about the lights
blinking required a line worker to be sent to the field
to review the connections at that account. Once the
line worker checked and tightened every connection,
the trouble ticket was closed, and the issue may or may
not have been corrected. Today, through an interoperable interface between the AMI and OMS, a complaint
is first reviewed in the office, and a determination of
the extent of the issue can be made. Often, the person
complaining is not the only one to have the problem.
Field personnel are informed about the true extent of
32

ieee power & energy magazine

the situation, which increases reliability for all of the
affected members and leads to a more efficient solution, possibly in one trip. The new process also realizes
significant savings. Addressing a complaint often takes
several trips and incurs a lost-opportunity cost of approximately US$300. There are four or five complaints
per week across the WIN Energy system, and the utility
saves roughly US$60,000/year by reducing the number
of crew trips to the field.
✔ Customer calls about outages: The use of a true AMI
system is often relied upon at WIN Energy to determine if there is power to its meters. When a member
calls the office to report an outage, a customer service
representative is able to verify if there is power to the
meter and whether the meter is involved in a line outage. In approximately one in 10 occurrences, the issue
is on the member's side, and WIN Energy tries to talk
the member through a resolution without dispatching
personnel. During storms, this is an essential part of
the co-op's troubleshooting. Win Energy estimates that
it avoids approximately 50 "dry runs" (dispatching personnel for issues not related to outages) per year.
✔ CIS-OMS: Customer information updates, such as name
and phone number changes, are sent from the CIS to the
OMS, a process that previously was manual. The utility saves considerable time and money by not having to
check every update to ensure the timeliness of the data.
✔ GIS-CIS: WIN Energy is in the preliminary phases
of connecting power flow and mapping software to its
CIS. The mapping software will send updated geospatial data to the CIS to enable easier identification of
the county, township, and other data that characterize the location of the consumers. The information in
the CIS downloads to the mapping and/or engineering
model. By sending one change to both places, the engineering model is kept up to date, ultimately saving
labor costs related to updating databases.
Taking advantage of the information available in the
described systems via an interoperability standard interface provides a significant cost and resource savings for electric power
utilities. Those gains are direct and indirect. The ability to take
advantage of system interfaces can provide immediate benefits,
such as coordinating AMI and OMS outage detection; conducting more accurate, longer-term system planning; using a GIS for
creating and maintaining the system connectivity model; performing more detailed system analyses for targeted constructionwork-plan spending; and outage communication. The greatest
january/february 2020



IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020

Contents
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - Cover1
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