Online fault mapping means no shocks for electricity customers

Utility firm Central Networks has launched a live network map on its website to improve the transparency of operations to its 4.9 million customers.

Utility firm Central Networks has launched a live network map on its website to improve the transparency of operations to its 4.9 million customers.

The live network map allows users to view constantly updated information on the performance of the electricity supply.

The map shows when a power service is interrupted, the cause of the problem and the estimated time of restoration, as well as listing planned and unplanned power interruptions by county.

"The development represents an important step forward in the UK electricity industry and offers customers accessible real-time information in an open and transparent way for the first time," said a spokesman for Central Networks.

"You could be at work when the power goes off at home, and you can check the status through the web. Or, if at home, a customer could phone somebody else to check the status of the problem online."

Central Networks said customers could phone up to receive the same information, and that the online network map was intended to be an additional source of information.

The utility company developed the system in-house as a three-tier application, with a front-end web application, a middle-tier web ­service proxy and an end tier comprising a web service-based interface.

All the applications are written in Microsoft C# .net and run on Windows Server 2003. The system links into the company's two key control systems, run by GE Harris and Thales, and is based on Oracle databases.

Data is extracted from these every five minutes and is provided to the web service data interface for customers to view online.

The technology was first introduced by Swedish energy company E.ON Nordic, which runs a similar application for its one million customers.

"The system was originally written in Javascript for a proof of concept, but had to be migrated to C# .net for deployment to our external web servers. It had to comply with the company's strict security policy as it was going to be visible on the world wide web," said Central Networks.

www.central-networks.co.uk


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