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Solving Common Cooperative Issues

FastNet RTU and Radius PDR radios help some of the most common problems present in rural electric Co-operative networks.

Rural Electric Cooperatives Common Problems

Northfork Electric Cooperative was recently plagued by several common issues that are encountered  everyday by rural electric cooperatives. Since its establishment in 1939 managers at Northfork Electric Cooperative have deployed a variety of equipment on the 2,500 miles of distribution lines in Beckham, Roger Mills, Washita, Greer, Harmon and Dewey counties to improve reliability and to
extend service. 

Some of this equipment is compatible with 21st century SCADA systems, and some of it is not. In addition, the Northfork Electric distribution network covers such a large territory that virtually all
communications networks were considered too expensive to deploy for the downline devices.

 

Northfolk Electric Cooperative In Sayre, Oklahoma


Northfork Electric is headquartered in Sayre, Oklahoma, approximately 120 miles west of Oklahoma City in the rural areas of Western Oklahoma, Servicing over 3,100 members with 2,500 miles of line means less then 2 meters per mile of line, creating logistical challenges when attempting to monitor and control the electric distribution network. 

Equipment deployed over the decades included devices from Siemens, Cooper, Schweitzer, Joslyn and many others. These devices, as well as additional substations and other technology, were deployed to extend service and improve reliability. Some of these devices were compatible with the newly  purchased Survelant DNP SCADA, and some were not.

Netcontrol RTU Solution

The Joslyn recloser being used on the distribution lines were from an era that used only Modbus communications protocol, a protocol which could not be accepted by the new DNP SCADA system.

Netcontrol deployed the FastNet RTU which converted the Modbus communications protocol to the required DNP protocol using the internal conversion capabilities of the FastNet RTU.

In addition to the Modbus to DNP conversion capabilities of the FastNet RTU the analog and digital inputs were also utilized on several of the devices for additional information that is sent to the SCADA system.

Netcontrol Radio Solution

Northfolk also required a communications solution, to provide SCADA control to remote outstations.  They determined the best possible optionwould be a wireless data radio network, one which could communicate with distant downline devices. The Radius PDR 121 radio was chosen as the best radio due to the unique multiple repeating capabilities and the excellent propagation characteristics of the UHF frequencies.

Netcontrol was able to obtain clean frequencies from the FCC for the private and exclusive use by Northfork Electric in the 450 MHz range. Due to the large territory Netcontrol deployed 4 separate repeaters in the radio network, with the potential to deploy dozens more if required.

With the Radius PDR 121 radio network Northfork Electric can now communicate with all the downline devices in the entire service territory as well as all substations. Allowing the headquarters crew in Sayre Oklahoma to monitor and remote control the distribution network for improved reliability.

In 2011 Northfork will continue to deploy additional sites and to deploy further technology to the field by installing the NME 300 remote control motor operators on existing air break switches.

All Netcontrol equipment was installed by factory trained and certified technical staff which offer complete turn-key installation services to rural electric cooperative customers.