The Power and Water Corporation provide power, water and sewerage services across the Northern Territory to a population of 245,000 and 1.3 million square kilometres. They also maintain 37,500 km (23,301 miles) of poles and towers, 10,520 km (6,537 miles) of overhead lines, 3,012 km (1,871 miles) of water mains and 1,608 km (1,000 miles) of sewer mains. There are over 72 communities that are designated as remote, ranging in population from as small as 35 to over 2,500. There is a mix of power generation (Solar farms and Diesel generators), transmission and distribution, water and sewerage services across these communities.
In order to maximise opportunities for local and indigenous employment Essential Services Operators (ESO) are contracted to safely operate, monitor and service infrastructure. Historically these ESOs would fax in data sheets from the communities but the resolution of data means that the error rate for data entry is high leading to low confidence in the data quality.
In 2012, through the use of the use of the STARS Satellite network and the OSISoft Pi Historian, the first of our Remote SCADA systems started to have connectivity back to Power and Water Corporation offices, and long-term data storage along with remote monitoring was possible. This came with a number of challenges including low bandwidth, high latency, lack of existing technologies (eg. 3G/4G or ADSL/NBN) and huge mobilisation costs. This, along with limited resourcing in remote communities and extreme environmental factors, has created a unique engineering challenge to ensure reliable and cost-effective data transfer.
With data flowing from the communities, the utilisation of Pi notifications and the on-demand availability of operational data has provided a cost effective near real time operational alarming and monitoring solution. There are now 61 remote sites using the satellite network and 7 remote sites on fibre bringing data into the PI system.
During this presentation, attendees will learn more about the environmental and technical engineering challenges in monitoring infrastructure in Remote Indigenous communities and Power and Water’s journey from faxes to smartphones as they hear from Power and Water Corporation representative Kieran Magann.
Kieran Magann: Senior SCADA and Control Systems Engineer, Power and Water Corporation
Kieran is a Senior SCADA and Control Systems Engineer at Power and Water Corporation in the Northern Territory. Working as part of the SCADA and Communications group and closely with the Remote Services group, Kieran designs, installs and maintains SCADA, control, communication and data systems for 72 Remote indigenous communities across the Northern Territory. Kieran is NT raised with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems Engineering and has worked at Power and Water for 8 years.
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