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Early Survey Findings Point to Continuing Development of EMS, SCADA, DMS and OMS Capabilities during 2017-2019 among North American Electric Power Utilities

The Newton-Evans Research Company has released preliminary findings from its current study of EMS, SCADA, DMS and OMS usage patterns in North American electric power utilities, one of four component reports of the company’s global market assessment series on operational control systems.

Among the initial observations gleaned from interviews and surveys with over 60 officials from a broad range of U.S. electric utilities:

  • Plans call for upgrades or retrofits to SCADA and OMS systems among a large percentage of these utilities
  • 20% of utilities sampled plan to purchase a new or replacement DMS. 30% indicated that they have or plan on having an Advanced DMS by year-end 2019.
  • Nearly one-half of the respondents reported having real-time linkages in place between SCADA and outage management systems.
  • Third party services are being used and relied upon to assist with NERC CIP compliance issues and for the conduct of vulnerability assessments.
  • DNP 3 continues to be the most prevalent operational data communications protocol throughout North American electric power utilities. Plans call for continuing the use of DNP 3 for the foreseeable future among most of these utilities.
  • The major use of analytics tools is in outage management activities such as fault location determination.
  • More topics surveyed in this new study include: the impact of NERC CIP compliance on budgets and workloads; cyber security issues; telecommunications strategies and methodologies; distribution network model maintenance; changing organizational responsibilities for control systems; budget outlooks; and, DMS applications usage patterns.

    There have been some changes over the last few years in utility organizations with respect to control system support staff. IT departments are now the principal support group in nearly one-third of utilities sampled so far, while 47% report the “OT” organization continuing as the primary support unit. Eighteen percent indicated that both IT and OT staff share responsibility for supporting control systems. See Figure 1.

    The types of networks used for data communications from the substation to the control system vary widely, with most utilities reporting use of multiple networks for the mix of data acquisition requirements. See Figure 2.

    The North American market report is one of four volumes being produced for the company’s fifteenth series of EMS, SCADA and DMS studies published by Newton-Evans Research since 1984. Work on the other three volumes is underway; the entire series will be published during the first quarter of 2017.

    Further information on this new series The World Market Study of SCADA, Energy Management Systems, Distribution Management Systems and Outage Management Systems in Electric Utilities: 2017-2019 is available from Newton-Evans Research Company, 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Phone: 410-465-7316. For readers interested in purchasing this new series please call or email for special introductory pricing.