Western Power integrates remote control units in its distribution network

As part of the West Australian government’s program to expand its distribution network, Western Power has integrated a new series of ring main units (RMUs), interfaced with remote control units and housed in kiosks.

The development means the corporation can easily collect information relating to the load usage control of the network, and any distribution faults.

Schneider Electric successfully tendered for the contract.

Customisation a key priority

Western Power specified the use of Flusarc RMUs for their 33kV network. The SF6 insulated ring main unit is compact and modular, making it ideal for use with distribution networks as well as commercial applications.

The kiosks, which house the units, were designed at Schneider Electric’s facility in Mount Waverley, Victoria, in conjunction with Schneider Electric’s global research and development team. The kiosks were customised to house the Schneider Electric Flusarc 33kV vacuum RMU and the Schneider Electric Easergy T200 remote control unit.

New control schemes were required to allow for the T200 to be integrated with Flusarc and customisation of the kiosk was also required to meet the size restrictions, which when placed in suburban council areas must be below a certain height.

Other customisations included a redesign of the kiosk base for hot-dip galvanisation, rerouting T200 current transformer wiring and adjustment of the T200 mounting brackets. Wire re-routing was primarily required to ensure safe practice surrounding the CT wire route.

Earth bars in the cable compartment were also redesigned to allow for easy termination with the HV screened cables. This modification brings the Flusarc RMU in line with the 22kV RMUs.

The majority of wiring work was completed by Schneider Electric before the units were taken to the customer’s site, resulting in reduced installation times for the customer.

Western Power also selected Schneider Electric’s RM6 ring main unit for its 11kV and 22kV distribution network. The RM6 is a globally successful trialled and tested compact ring main unit with visible earthing.

With safety the most important aspect for its workers, Western Power required the kiosk design was type tested to meet AS62271:202 Internal Arc Class Type A (safety of operator) and Type B (safety of public) tests. Schneider Electric was able to deliver a successfully type tested kiosk design housing the RMU and RTU, making it the first design of its kind in Australia.

The Schneider Electric RM6 kiosks and Flusarc kiosks were successfully tested for internal arc classification IAC-AB. In the unlikely event of an internal arc, the design ensures that any hot gases generated during a fault are cooled via a patented filter, reducing the effects of overpressure and flame within the enclosure.

The design limits the release of projectiles and flaming particles, which could potentially injure the public or operators.

Remote control functionality

The Easergy T200 remote control units allow Western Power to better control and monitor their distribution network, improving safety and reliability.

The T200 web interface is used with the SCADA system to make network decisions in accordance with Western Power’s requirements.

Western Power underground systems and substations team leader Sandeep Magan said the key benefit of the new system is the improved visibility of the network due to the T200 remote control units.

“This solution has provided us with network automation, which means we no longer have to send people out into the field to manually operate switchgear,” he said.

“It also means we can reconfigure the network quicker because we don’t have to be concerned with travel times, and it allows us to quickly identify where the fault is.”

As a result of the successful implementation of the T200 units, Western Power is also retrofitting 200 Flair 22D phase and earth fault passage indicators for use in the underground networks. Using a battery powered fault passage indicator means that Western Power does not need to be concerned with auxiliary DC supplies.