Drakenstein Municipality is currently partnering with global energy leader, Schneider Electric and system integrator partner Altek to upgrade its 25-year-old SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system to ETAP, a model-driven electrical SCADA software solution.
Situated in the Cape Winelands District Municipality in the Western Cape, Drakenstein Municipality awarded Schneider Electric and implementation partner, Altek the contract following a rigorous tender process.
The ETAP SCADA solution met the requirements of the municipality, which ultimately aims to significantly improve fault finding, predictive and preventative equipment maintenance and overall customer service delivery. Moreover, the system needs to integrate with Drakenstein Municipality’s existing infrastructure and the GIS (geographic information system) mapping solution.
Before commencing with the implementation of the ETAP SCADA solution, Drakenstein Municipality completed an eight-year communication network upgrade which now sees all its substations communicating through a wireless ethernet or a fibre backbone. The previous SCADA system only allowed for radio frequency (RF) communication.
“We couldn’t embark on a SCADA upgrade before implementing a new communication backbone. Now, with our network fully operational we have started deploying the new SCADA system. As a municipality, we will be well ahead of our peers as ETAP’s software continues to evolve it will readily meet our ongoing system needs,” explains Herman Rossouw, Senior Engineering Technician at Drakenstein Municipality.
“The ETAP SCADA offering is software-neutral which allows it to overcome integration and interoperability issues, thus saving on costly equipment upgrades and project delays,” says Dwibin Thomas, Cluster Automation Leader at Schneider Electric.
“The ETAP SCADA system offers so many exciting features such as live insight into switching operations that provides us with valuable information on current loads and what you can and cannot move or implement on the system in order to safeguard equipment,” says Leon Laing, Manager: Planning and Customer Services (Electro-Technical Services Department) at Drakenstein Municipality.
“Also, as it integrates with GIS, the ETAP system will be able to accurately pinpoint which customers are being affected by power failure which will allow us to drastically cut down on fault finding and turnaround times. The ETAP solution will also utilise Drakenstein Municipality’s communication backbone to provide remote access to operators, again improving on system monitoring. Moreover, it will provide preventative maintenance schedules which will mitigate potential equipment failure and costly repair”.
“With the ETAP systems’ digital twin technology we will also be able to simulate maintenance processes. The solution uses historical and current data to simulate maintenance and upgrades to the system. This will ensure that when we perform maintenance, no unnecessary unplanned system tripping will occur,” explains Rossouw.
The Drakenstein Municipality ETAP SCADA project is earmarked for completion by 2025. “When the project is complete, we hope to benefit from a sophisticated SCADA system that will not only deliver Return On Investment (ROI) but also enable us to react quicker to outages and failures, reducing fault finding and ultimately enhance customer experience,” says Laing.