Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Key Modernization Projects image


Distribution Management System – This set of applications is capable of collecting, organizing, displaying and analyzing real-time or near real-time electric distribution system information. A DMS can also allow operators to plan and execute complex distribution system operations in order to increase system efficiency, optimize power flows, prevent overloads and improve reliability. The DMS interfaces with other operations applications such as geographic information systems (GIS), outage management systems (OMS), and customer information systems (CIS) to create an integrated view of distribution operations.

Distribution Automation – Completed as a pilot project at five substations in the Lake Goodwin and Tulalip communities, this extends intelligent controls to the distribution feeder level. It allows system operators to visualize faults and open and close switches remotely to isolate outages for faster restoration. Additional automation has been completed in Arlington as part of the new Eagle Creek Substation and upgraded East Arlington Substation.

Substation Automation – This project replaced substation electro-mechanical relays with digital microprocessor-based units. These devices are linked to a gateway for connections to the utility’s fiber optic network. The automation provides better information about outages, improves reliability and lays the foundation for smart grid modernization.

Fiber Optic Cable – The PUD has installed 163 miles of fiber optic cable connecting its substations, a radio site and utility buildings. These technology upgrades provide the ability to measure, monitor and control power via robust two-way communications. All of this work moves the utility toward the ability to support smarter systems.

Test Lab – This PUD lab provides a real-world environment to test, evaluate and learn about smart grid equipment and operations. It allows the utility to evaluate various technologies such as substation gateways, protocol converters, advanced metering infrastructure and other devices.

Cybersecurity – The PUD has worked to design a robust, resilient, risk based Information and Network Security Program to ensure its most critical information assets and infrastructure are protected against a loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability. Identification and authorization are leveraged to ensure that systems are only accessed by those approved by management. The role of managing cybersecurity risk is critical to the success of organizations to achieve their strategic goals and objectives, including resiliency, reliability, and safety.

Outage Management System – While this system is now in use, additional enhancements will be added over time. At its core is a software application that does several things, including tracking outages from customer calls and telemetry from automated substations. It provides PUD staff with a visualization of outages and points of failure on the grid. It also supports a new 24/7 outage map for customers. Eventually, with advanced metering infrastructure, it will provide outage information on a more granular level, down to an individual home.

Ongoing System Upgrades

Work has continued to upgrade equipment at Everett’s Beverly Park substation, including installation of the utility’s largest transformer. The PUD is working with the Bonneville Power Administration and Puget Sound Energy on the project, aimed at bolstering reliability for customers throughout the region. It also includes reconfiguration of transmission lines and installation of new fiber optic lines. 

Construction of the new Eagle Creek Substation in Arlington, in conjunction with upgrades to substations in East Arlington and Oso, also provides additional means of backup power for these communities, which have historically been more susceptible to weather conditions and outages. 

Substations in Smokey Point and North Everett are being rebuilt, while substations in Monroe and Mill Creek/Seattle Hill are being upgraded with new equipment.

In addition, numerous high-voltage poles, lines and related equipment are being reconfigured and are receiving additional maintenance over a multi-year period.

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Advanced Metering Infrastructure – Within the next five years, the PUD will begin deployment of advanced meters, which provide two-way communication between customers’ meters and the utility. It will allow customers to access energy consumption data in near real-time and will streamline business processes for the utility. Advanced meters will help the PUD quickly identify power outages to speed restoration efforts.