For such a critical company like SEV, information and communications technology has come to play an increasingly important role in the company over the last few years and the technology SEV deploys is more advanced and more sophisticated than ever before. At the same time, it is very important that security management correspondingly is also enhanced.
In order to safeguard and improve operations, SEV management decided to relocate all IT services to the Sund power plant. Some of these services have already been transferred, and during this year the remainder of the IT equipment used to monitor and control the entire electricity system of the country will be moved to Sund. Currently, SEV has over 60 servers of various types.
One of the principal reasons for deciding to relocate all the servers to the Sund power plant was that staff is present 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This fact itself increases the level of security. Moreover, the Sund power plant is equipped with the latest in fire-fighting equipment.
An additional level of security is gained by having all data copied and stored at a location away from Sund. Thus, SEV always has a complete copy of all data in the various systems.
New control system
SEV is in the process of shifting out its old Becos control management system for the more advanced Schneider Electric system. The more modern system features additional options to better control and manage power production from wind and water.
When the new Schneider Electric system is fully operational, electricity production management can be fully automatic. The system itself can automatically determine the most optimal combination of production units at any given time and activate those units, whether hydro, wind or oil. SEV has the option, however, to determine the level of automatic functioning, and thus the electrical engineers on duty maintain a close vigil over system operations throughout the day. Consequently, it is still possible to manually control production and bypass the recommendations of the automatic system. With the present Becos system, the on-duty electrical engineers must continually balance electricity production with demand and decide which sources of power are the most effective and efficient to deploy at any given moment.
In fact, this deployment of new equipment is part of a unique and innovative project undertaken by SEV in collaboration with the French company Schneider Electric. This is the first time such a project has been embarked upon in an island community and the first step is scheduled to start during the autumn of 2015.
Like many other Faroese companies, SEV decided to outsource its telephone customer service to the local Faroese company, Ansni. This was done in 2014.
The Power Hub system, which is designed to eliminate the risk of power outages by identifying a potential blackout before it becomes a reality, has been functioning satisfactorily since it was implemented on a trial basis in the autumn of 2014. The system has prevented several blackouts.
Wireless meter installation almost completed
Deployment of the automatic wireless meter system has progressed well. The remaining 4,000 old meters are scheduled to be replaced during 2015. This initiative started in 2006. The reason SEV elected to stretch out this work over such a long period of time was to avoid all the newly-installed meters becoming old or obsolete at the same time and thus needing to be replaced, again, at the same time. This slow implementation allowed SEV to closely monitor the technical progress and innovation in the sector. The total number of meters in the Faroe Islands is around 25,000.
In addition to reducing the work-load at SEV, the wireless meters are a boon to customers. Customers will neither pay too much or too little over the course of the year. Thus, they will avoid receiving an extra bill or waiting to have their money refunded once their final usage for the year is calculated.
Large consumers of electricity will also be able to ascertain rather quickly what their electricity is used for and to set into motion energy saving initiatives where possible.
The old system with equal monthly payments was based on an estimate of projected annual usage. Now, each monthly bill is based on actual usage. Thus, in most instances, a customer will pay less for light and heat in those months when consumption is naturally lower, and somewhat more during the dark and cold time of year, when electricity consumption often rises.
Via the SEV webpage, customers can enter their respective user names and passwords and easily monitor their own electricity usage. SEV has also developed an App for this purpose, which is especially useful for its business customers.
All IT control systems are regularly updated; moreover, the latest versions of the various software programs used by SEV and available on the open market are also routinely installed.