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Research Findings Point to Upgrade of EMS, SCADA and DMS Capabilities during 2017-2019 among North American Electric Power Utilities to Accommodate Renewables Integration and Demand Response

Emphasis Placed on Extending Applications and Expanding Roles of Distribution Management Systems and Outage Management Systems

Here are some observations based on interviews and surveys with 69 utilities from North America participating in our survey:

Almost one-half of all North America survey respondents (47%) plan to upgrade or retrofit their SCADA installations by 2019. Most respondents with such plans were mid-size and larger cooperatives and public power utilities.

Twenty-six percent of respondents plan to purchase a new or replacement DMS by 2019. Only six (major) utilities reported that they currently have an Advanced DMS, but 24 others will have an ADMS in the near future. Importantly, of the 30 respondents using or planning to use an ADMS, none indicated that their SCADA functionality and network modeling presently include distributed energy resources (DERs). However, most of this sub-group (82%) plans to include DERs in their ADMS functionality in the future.

Real-time network analysis and fault location were the prevalent applications being used as part of current DMS or ADMS installations. Plans are centered on supplementing these (where not yet implemented) and adding network optimization and distributed energy resource management capabilities. (See Fig. 1)

Figure 1. Applications used as a part of DMS/ADMS

Real-time linkages between SCADA and GIS or OMS were found in 44% of the utility sites. Forty-one percent reported having no real-time linkages among these systems.

Almost half of the survey respondents indicated that the operational systems support group is managed by the line of business, while 31% stated that such support is now part of corporate IT. (See Fig. 2)

Figure 2. How is OS Support Managed?

Third party services are being used and relied upon to assist with NERC CIP compliance issues and for the conduct of vulnerability assessments.

DNP3 continues to be the most prevalent operational data communications protocol throughout North American electric power utilities. Plans call for continuing the use of DNP3 for the foreseeable future among most of these utilities. Some planning for IEC 61850 is underway, but remains at a low level among these respondents.

More than a score of additional topics were surveyed in this new study including 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 applications usage patterns.

Further information on this new series, “The World Market Study of SCADA, Energy Management Systems and Distribution 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 Email: or visit us at or to order any of more than 100 related reports. For readers interested in purchasing this new series please call or email the company for special introductory pricing.