Smart Distribution: Your Starting Point for Smart Applications


Savvy utilities understand that a paradigm shift is happening in the electric industry. On top of industry-mandated indices like System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI), many states have implemented or are considering a range of grid efficiency regulations. Further complicating a utility’s efforts to meet energy needs is the infrastructure itself. Today’s electric grid has changed little since its inception in the early 1900s.

Unlike many other businesses, utilities must make critical spending decisions on a 20- to 30- or even 40-year horizon. These constraints require investments to be made in solutions that can adapt and grow to meet shifting energy needs and regulatory mandates.

Smart distribution offers a strategic, holistic way to approach grid efficiency and reliability upgrades. A smart distribution communication network provides a solid foundation for smart metering and smart consumer applications. And smart distribution can translate into real savings as the network begins to help utilities automate switching processes and shorten or even prevent outages.

Trilliant’s SecureMesh WAN, part of the Trilliant Communications Platform, is a broadband mesh network built specifically for utilities that provides the reliability, bandwidth and low-latency necessary for advanced smart distribution applications.

Smart Distribution: Centralized Command and Control of the Distribution Grid

Although most of the public attention on Smart Grid architecture focuses on metering and consumer solutions, there is a third area that often gets overlooked: distribution. Distribution Networking for Smart Distribution provides two-way broadband wireless communications to connect substations and distribution grid devices to the utility’s head-end for significant operational benefits. The “always-on” capability of the distribution network not only enables the process automation of centralized SCADA and DMS applications but also enables on-demand management of the grid from centralized operators.

Distribution Applications

There are a variety of applications enabled by deploying distribution automation through a distribution network:

  • Volt/VAR Optimization
  • Transformer Monitoring
  • Fault Detection, Identification and Recovery (FDIR)
  • Substation Automation
  • Line Switch Automation
  • Voltage Monitoring
  • Substation Video Monitoring

Each of these Smart Grid solutions provides a distinct element of managing the distribution grid. The applications help utilities improve operational efficiency, system reliability, and asset utilization.

Operational Efficiency

  • Enhanced utilization of generation sources (e.g., comprehensive power flow control from central and distributed sources)
  • Reduced operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses
  • Improves forecasting

System Reliability

  • Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance
    • Reduction in the number and duration of outages
    • Reduction in the number of equipment failures
  • Facilitated field repairs
  • Improved customer satisfaction

Asset Utilization & Protection

  • Grid load information for planning
  • Optimized capital expenditure timing
  • Improved safety

Trilliant’s SecureMesh WAN was designed to provide a cost-effective broadband networking solution to enable communications throughout the entire distribution grid. Through a patented wireless mesh system, the standards-based SecureMesh WAN can connect grid devices with high capacity and low latency links, offering Smart Grid solutions that support both AMI backhaul as well as distribution networking.

To discuss your utility’s needs, please contact us.

Learn more about the Trilliant Platform.