Marrying DMS with OMS is just the beginning. EPRI's Robert Uluski's conversation with Intelligent Utility magazine editor-in-chief Kate Rowland looks at future applications, as well.
Not long ago, I reached out to Robert Uluski, a technical executive with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), to talk about what the distribution management system (DMS) of the future would look like, and some of the most important reasons for utilities to implement it.
Uluski, who leads EPRI's research and development activities in advanced distribution applications and engineering planning for smart grid distribution systems, defines DMS as "a decision support system to assist the control room and field operating personnel with the monitoring and control of the electric distribution system in an optimal manner while improving safety and asset protection."
One obvious use for DMS is to marry it to the outage management system (OMS), which provides economies of scale with a single user interface. And because OMS and DMS share a distribution system model that must be maintained and kept up to date at all times (which is both a challenging and a time-consuming activity), there is significant benefit to the utility if there is only one instance of the model to build and maintain.
Other DMS applications vary from utility to utility, depending upon their specific needs. Uluski said the most popular applications right now are Volt-VAR optimization and fault detection isolation and restoration, or FDIR. "Many utilities have implemented these two systems as separated, stand-alone distribution automation systems for proof of concept, and are seeking to use DMS for a more flexible, system-wide implementation," he said.
Looking to the near future, DMS applications for managing two imperative additions to the operational mix (managing demand response and distributed energy resources including distributed generation, renewables and energy storage) for volt-VAR control, microgrid management and more will increase in importance for utilities. Likewise, he told me, applications that manage electric vehicle charging strategies and vehicle-to-grid strategies will also become more important in regions where high EV penetration exists.
The massive amount of data now available on the distribution system means having effective and efficient data visualization techniques is essential on the DMS. "The num