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Open the Window: Power Management Software 101

image credit: Used with permission.

Someone famous once said “It’s not what you can do for your data, but what your data can do for you!” Okay, maybe that isn’t a direct quote but I’m sure if JFK was here today he would have probably said something similar.

Everything collects data, there is an infinite number of data streams from every device you put your finger on.  But not all data is created equal. 20 years ago, the goal was the collection of the data -how do we get it? Now the power comes with what you do with it, so we’ve moved from quantity for quality. i.e. the idea of using data driven results to make educated decisions for your business now and “future proofing” for the next 20 years.

As I like to say, “the time for intelligent metering and monitoring is now!” Today’s smart grid is complex. It requires constant monitoring to manage capacity, reliability, efficiency, and sustainability. You also need to balance increasing demand and tighter energy requirements — all while staying competitive and profitable.

Did you know?

25% of power management systems have outdated configurations that put monitoring and control of the network at risk.

10-15% of devices in the typical power management system are nearing end of their supported lifecycle

>15% of facilities are operating with problematic power quality conditions, which can lead to equipment damage and unplanned downtime.

So why now? What is driving the adoption of Power Management Software in utilities?

Current market trends include:

Increased need for Power Quality (PQ) monitoring and reporting.

  • With the adoption of renewable generation and DER, there is an increased need to monitor harmonics, unbalance, transients and other PQ conditions
  • With utilities increasingly serving a complex mix of customers with non-linear loads, harmonics and other poor power quality conditions, there is a bigger need for better PQ reporting and analysis tools.

Increased need for centralized energy data repositories.

  • With more stakeholders from varied groups within utilities that analyze and report on energy data, the need for more automated reporting and delivery mechanisms is much greater today. .
  • Data export to other systems for integration.

Increase need for granular and flexible real-time monitoring.

  • With utilities trying to manage limited capacity and infrastructure, they need highly capable real-time tools to monitor their power systems with flexible visualizations, trend analysis, etc.
  • Utilities need robust alarming capabilities, so they can be notified about anomalies at their customers. Additionally, better root cause analysis tools will help them dissect power system events to minimize disruptions

What should utilities look for in Power Management Software?

When assessing power management system software, there are three things that every utility should look for to keep abreast of the trends discussed previously - Reliability, Efficiency and Compliance.

Reliability: To improve overall power system reliability, your software needs to have granular real-time monitoring tools, and alarming tools. Additionally, power event analysis tools and power quality analytics are mandatory in today’s world. The software should have intuitive visualizations that can give both macro-level views (such as dashboard gadgets like bar charts, pie charts etc.), as well as drill down right to the data captured by the meter. e.g. trending tools with target lines and comparisons can cut the time to detect anomalies significantly.

Other visualizations such as those including disturbance direction detection (DDD) can be invaluable in quickly determining the culprit in a cascading series of events.  Power Quality & Event Analysis tools can aggregate related alarms occurring within certain periods of time into a consolidated incident. Key alarm information and a sequence of events can be viewed at a glance using timeline analysis tools available in modern power management software.

Interactive waveform viewers with analysis tools help engineers dissect power quality data like harmonics content.

These types of analytics tools greatly simplify and speed up analysis of power system incidents and increase the reliability that utilities can offer their customers. Because when something goes down, every second counts.

Efficiency:  Power management software must enable utilities to both increase their own efficiency in delivering services to customers, and the efficiency at their customer sites. In terms of their own efficiency, power management software should enable accurate revenue billing and meaningful reporting of energy data. By connecting to meters at various customer sites and partitioning data appropriately, power management software can help benchmark and baseline energy usage across sites. Accurate energy benchmarking and reporting can help utilities optimize their infrastructure capacity.

Lately, utilities are also helping their customers in energy conservation programs. Modern power management software has many energy visualization tools that can help communicate energy usage trends effectively.


Additionally, new modeling analytics embedded in power management software can help utilities forecast energy usage by customers accurately.

Compliance: Utilities are increasingly adhering to various industry standards related to power management in two main areas - cybersecurity and power quality. With cyber threats multiplying exponentially every day, it is imperative that power management software that connects to critical power assets be fully compliant with evolving cybersecurity standards. Adhering to internationally recognized standards like IEC62443 helps manage the legal risks of cyber threat exposure. Power Quality standards like IEEE519, IEEE1159 and IEC 61000-4-30 help standardize the data collection and presentation of PQ data. Power management software also needs to be include industry standard PQ event analysis like CBEMA-ITIC and SEMI F47 to determine if PQ conditions are affecting sensitive equipment at customers.


As a key element of a Power Management System, software like EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert (PME) is the window to your digitized power network, taking advantage of IoT connectivity and distributed intelligence.

As power grid technology becomes more dynamic, systems more complex, and regulations more challenging, PME brings unique new capabilities that make it simpler to protect people and assets, keep operations running, and save time and money[RK1] .
{[RK1] Moved the summary of PME first. (before the ltest changes in PME9)}

EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert can provide utilities benefits in the following areas:

  1. Robust data acquisition engine to aggregate metering data accurately
  2. Strong analysis tools for power quality monitoring and reporting
  3. Automated reporting tools for energy, PQ and system configuration
  4. Data integration mechanisms with other systems
  5. Variety of real-time monitoring tools for power/energy visualizations

The most recent PME software version provides many essential features suitable for utilities.

Upgraded Power Event Analysis Tools

  • Fast incident analysis with greatly improved alarming.
  • Statistics bases approach to alarms, compared to the traditional threshold-based settings.
  • The best waveform viewer available provides enhanced power quality analysis.

IT Compliance

  • Significant updates to comply with essential IT policies.
  • Active Windows Directory, Cybersecurity compliance to IEC62443 and HTML 5.
  • Support for whitelisting (McAfee), allowing only specified application access.

Multi-Site Power Management

  • Localized role-based access enables, or limits authorized permissions across multiple users or departments.

New / Improved Advanced Applications

  • Enhanced PQ performance and compliance monitoring and reporting (IEEE519 reporting).
  • Smart setpoint monitoring activity on exception.
  • Applications include early demand peak warning, harmonic distortion analysis and any other slow changing patterns.

New Productivity Tools

  • Improved deployment tools for efficient new system startups and legacy upgrades.


To learn more about PME for utilities email



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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 14, 2019

Thanks for sharing, Scott. Stories on utility data often evoke the question about what's worse, no data, bad data, or data that's not being properly utilized. It seems like the three pillars of any digital utility solution of today and tomorrow has to embrace those principles: collect data; ensure data hygiene; and take advantage of that data. 

Scott Laster's picture

Thank Scott for the Post!

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