Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Watchtower around to increase grid safety

Steve Rogerson
February 19, 2019
DC Systems, a California-based provider of intelligent energy management software for power systems and grid-operators, has announced Watchtower to bring increased safety and resilience to energy operations during periods of high fire risk and other dangerous weather conditions.
Watchtower analyses available environmental reporting data in real time and autonomously implements mitigation strategies, such as preventing arcing and sparking in the field due to equipment operations.
Watchtower implements the ability to disable automatically the reclosing of field switching, or cutting power completely should conditions exceed critical levels. The product also incorporates real-time reporting, notifying operators of system status via a graphical user interface and can issue control tags to make operators aware that a mitigation strategy has been implemented. 
The utility-scale software not only reduces wildfire risk, but also risk from ice storms, hurricanes, floods and other disasters.
"During times of high fire risk, Watchtower disables automated field switch operations that could result in an arcing fault," said Douglass Campbell, founder and CTO of DC Systems.
The product was developed as a direct response to the demands of utilities that require better tools to respond to extreme weather events.
"We began the development of this product after the Sonoma County wildfires of 2017, automating the removal of risk conditions associated with switching operations that could lead to fires," said company CEO Ken Munson. "We're proud to have developed Watchtower within this past year, and have already begun to deploy this in the market with a major west coast utility before the coming fire season."
This is the latest product to join the company's suite for intelligent energy management, which already includes software for data acquisition, substation management, distribution automation, transmission and distribution, enterprise data management, power generation, renewable generation, and energy storage.
Since 1990, DC Systems has worked with utilities, EPCs, large power producers and energy users, with more than 100 utility customers and 400 projects worldwide. It develops utility-grade, vendor-agnostic, real-time software for power system and grid-interconnection, telemetry, analysis, monitoring, control, and communications gateways.