Power Utility Control Center Keeps Electricity Flowing 24/7

The Palmetto Electric Cooperative, based in Ridgeland, South Carolina, is a customer-owned utility supplying electric services in South Carolina. To ensure that residences and businesses receive reliable 24/7 power, the Cooperative operates a centralized control center which continuously monitors and performs surveillance of Palmetto's power distribution network. This mission-critical control center performs its vital functions every day, every minute, without interruption.

The center's old display system began encountering maintenance issues which periodically truncated its monitoring and surveillance operations. To remedy the situation Palmetto enlisted the audio video technology expertise of Southern Media Systems, Inc., based in Charleston. David Major, President of Southern Media Systems explained, "The control center's display wall was comprised of six rear-projection cubes in a 2 x 3 array. This display worked well for some time, but when it came time to change a bulb, Palmetto personnel discovered that all six projection bulbs had to be changed at once to conserve color balance. They also found that the display wall had to be adjusted periodically for alignment, color, and brightness by a specialized, costly technician. Thus, the overall maintenance issues with their display wall became unacceptably expensive and burdensome."

"Palmetto Electric wanted to upgrade the control center wall. We recommended replacing the 2x3 video wall with a more pragmatic, less expensive solution that would meet their display needs while dramatically reducing maintenance costs and downtime. Our design replaced the cube array with a single, large screen capable of displaying multiple images simultaneously using RGB Spectrum's SuperView® display processor."

The SuperView processor provides control center personnel with a centralized, real time view of all system-wide data, activity, operational status, and security surveillance. Computer inputs include SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) data collected from various sensors at the utility plant and other remote locations throughout the distribution grid, maps, spreadsheets, and control system data and status. Video inputs include local and national weather and news broadcasts, two sets of security surveillance cameras, VCRs, and DVD players.

The SuperView processor integrates these visuals and outputs the combined multi-window image to a Projection Design CINE 3+ high resolution 1080p HD projector on a 139"x74" screen. The multi-image display is also routed to the adjoining the Dispatch room and displayed on a 65-inch plasma screen for resource allocation and response.

According to Major, operation of the processor's extensive display capabilities is remarkably easy. Control center personnel operate it using its embedded GUI and a pre-programmed ten-button controller. With a simple "click and drag" or push of a button, Operators can instantly switch input sources, re-size and reposition any image, and zoom and pan on an area of particular interest.

"The SuperView-based system optimizes data analysis and security monitoring efficiency. It centralizes a wide range of visual information sources and presents them in a correlated view so that operators can quickly assess and analyze pertinent data. The system is also designed for future expandability. The processor's high definition 1080p video input capability already meets display requirements mandated for 2009 deployment by the FCC."

Major concluded, "This system will fit Palmetto Electric Cooperative's needs for a long time to come with very low maintenance. They are very pleased with the results, the system's performance, and its ease of use."

Palmetto Electric Cooperative, based in Ridgeland, South Carolina, is a customer-owned utility supplying electric services in the southern section of South Carolina. Palmetto Electric Cooperative provides diversified, innovative energy and related services to its customers and serving its customer base in a community-building leadership role. This cooperative membership offers electricity at the lowest possible cost along with other membership benefits. For more information,

Southern Media Systems, Inc., headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, sells, designs, installs and services leading edge audio, video and security products and systems. For more information, call 843-556-3112.