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Wide-area networks (WANs) are being deployed worldwide at power utilities. By replacing vintage narrowband solutions, broadband communications can now be used for an entire utility enterprise. One new possibility that has opened up is to improve power system maintenance. During the last ten years, the benefits of adequate asset management have become increasingly clear in the power industry due to the economic pressures and aging infrastructure. An apparent tool to improve the asset-management strategies is the implementation of information technology systems that support the operational processes. The impact of these systems can be further enhanced by efficient communications, allowing the proliferation of functionality and data access. This paper describes the initial stages in analyzing the combined effects of enhanced communication and maintenance requirements. It provides a useful maintenance categorization, based on empirical data. Also, areas of improvement for power system maintenance are elucidated together with the benefit of enhanced communications.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2006