Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

GE and AEP collaborate on distribution operating platform

Steve Rogerson
March 15, 2016
GE and American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the USA, have launched the IDOP integrated distribution operating platform, software that the companies hope will mark a significant step towards smart grid interoperability.
The joint programme integrates GE's asset management and asset control systems including the two companies’ key business areas of operations, maintenance and construction. The programme connects GE's primary utility software offerings – GIS geospatial information system, OMS outage management system and ADMS advanced distribution management system – to bring stability, security and efficiencies to AEP's operations.
“The IDOP applications are critical to distribution operations as they impact the key areas of asset management, distribution scada management and outage restoration,” said Tom Kirkpatrick, vice president of customer services for AEP. “These applications are also the foundation of managing the grid of the future – a grid that will be smarter, more resilient and able to adapt to the needs of a rapidly changing distribution system incorporating distributed generation and storage devices throughout the grid. Our customers will benefit from the improved efficiency of operation, more effective outage restoration and improved customer communications.”
Historically, the functionality delivered by IDOP has been provided by multiple vendors, requiring utility operators to manage multiple applications from multiple workstations. The IDOP platform will eliminate this complexity by deploying three integrated software products that AEP can control from a single work station – lowering costs, reducing maintenance and optimising productivity. It can also provide real-time network information to standardise data presentation and visualisation, simplified alarm management, streamlined workflow and knowledge sharing.
“Flexible, resilient and smart grids are the future of the power industry,” said Karim El Naggar, chief digital officer for GE Energy Connections. “Real-time data exchanges and integrated solutions such as IDOP will play a pivotal role, allowing utilities to continue to keep the lights on in an increasingly volatile environment. GE is proud to partner with AEP to help the industry restore power faster, reduce costs, better manage assets, and improve safety, security and reliability across distribution grids.”
Deployment of the three applications throughout AEP will be completed in May 2016. IDOP is the first deployment of PowerOn Advantage, GE's ADMS, in the USA. In addition to this, integration enhancements for PowerOn Advantage and Smallworld Electric Office, GE's GIS, are scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.
GE and AEP share a strong history in the area of transmission and distribution, specifically software. In 2008, AEP formed an alliance with GE to support its GridSmart initiatives around electric grid efficiency and grid reliability improvements. Since then, GE has continued to deliver value-added software to AEP.