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Smart Alarming Management


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An electric grid alarming management system that works with real-time data is vital for optimizing network performance and safety. This system also must have the ability to finely tune alarms, to …

An electric grid alarming management system that works with real-time data is vital for optimizing network performance and safety. This system also must have the ability to finely tune alarms, to assure reliable event and condition notifications without overloading control room operators and reducing alarming effectiveness.
Schneider Electric’s Smart Alarming Management solution works seamlessly with the Schneider Electric Advanced DMS solution to put real-time data to work in the most effective and efficient manner. The robustness of this solution is due to its application to both database and system alarms. Configurable tools enable fast and reliable identification of event severity and specific filtering, prioritization and suppression. This approach assures that operator screens communicate what is needed, when needed. Displays provide comprehensive summaries of alarm status and actions performed that add to efficiency.
In particular, the Schneider Electric solution supports alarming management for defined areas of responsibility. Focusing on alarm capabilities at the AOR level optimizes both control and security for the network as a whole.
Smart Alarming management makes the most of the utility’s investment in its real-time information infrastructure. Together, they provide vital and relevant network information that enables operators to respond promptly and effectively to changing network conditions.

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  • 1. Smart Alarming ManagementPart of an Advanced DMSMake the most of your energy SM
  • 2. SummaryExecutive Summary . ................................................................................... p 1Introduction ................................................................................................. p 2Smart Alarming Management....................................................................... p 4Schneider Electric’s ADMS Smart Alarming infrastructure ............................ p 5Graphical User Interface .............................................................................. p 8Smart Alarming features .............................................................................. p 10Logging and storage: Historian System . ...................................................... p 15Conclusion................................................................................................... p 16
  • 3. Smart Alarming ManagementExecutive summaryAn electric grid alarming management system that works with real-time data isvital for optimizing network performance and safety. This system also must havethe ability to finely tune alarms, to assure reliable event and condition notificationswithout overloading control room operators and reducing alarming effectiveness.Schneider Electric’s Smart Alarming Management solution works seamlessly withthe Schneider Electric Advanced DMS solution to put real-time data to work in themost effective and efficient manner. The robustness of this solution is due to itsapplication to both database and system alarms. Configurable tools enable fastand reliable identification of event severity and specific filtering, prioritization andsuppression. This approach assures that operator screens communicate whatis needed, when needed. Displays provide comprehensive summaries of alarmstatus and actions performed that add to efficiency.In particular, the Schneider Electric solution supports alarming management fordefined areas of responsibility. Focusing on alarm capabilities at the AOR leveloptimizes both control and security for the network as a whole.Smart Alarming management makes the most of the utility’s investment in itsreal-time information infrastructure. Together, they provide vital and relevantnetwork information that enables operators to respond promptly and effectively tochanging network conditions. White paper | 01
  • 4. Smart Alarming ManagementIntroductionAlarm management is a key element in the day-to-day operations of anelectric utility. An Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) systemautomates and controls a very large number of functions in transmission ordistribution operations; inefficient alarming detected and/or issued by the ADMScan lead to catastrophic damage to the electric grid — along with seriousinjuries and risks to personal safety.It is vital, then, that an Alarm Management system:• Speed response to critical and uncommon events• Filter nuisance alarms and take automatic actions• Decrease errors and waste• Minimize time spent troubleshooting grid problems• Automatically generate reports• Allows operators/dispatchers to focus on meaningful alarmsSchneider Electric’s Smart Alarming Management solution for ADMS speedsoperator response, reduces errors and ensures the right function is executedat the right time. This document provides a summary of the key characteristicsand components of this solution. White paper | 02
  • 5. Smart Alarming Management
  • 6. Smart Alarming ManagementSmart Alarming ManagementAn intelligent alarming sub-system — such asSchneider Electric’s InstAlarm application — iscritical to responsive SCADA operations. Forexample, InstAlarm offers the advanced capabilitiesof both Alarm Disturbance Mode and AlarmSuppression. With Alarm Disturbance Mode, alarmscan be configured so that lower priority alarmsare suspended during peak alarm periods. Theconfigurable Alarm Suppression function suppressesalarms in a hierarchical manner to prevent largenumbers of alarms from cluttering an operator’sdisplay when they are triggered as the result ofa single device going into alarm. Control InitiatedSuppression prevents similar alarm aggregation dueto operator-initiated commands.The InstAlarm application is a specific module of theOASyS DNA SCADA Realtime services and providesan API to insert ‘custom’ alarms. This structure allowsextended applications — such as Schneider Electric’sSimSuite Pipeline, Distribution Management Systemand Responder Outage Management System, orthird-party applications, to generate alarms with thesame or similar information as a RealTime Database.This design enables utilization of third-party toolswith Schneider Electric’s secure and reliable ADMSinfrastructure. White paper | 04
  • 7. Smart Alarming ManagementSchneider Electric’s ADMS SmartAlarming infrastructureAlarm TypesInstAlarm manages both database and system • nstrument Failure alarm limits (reasonability limits) Ialarms. Database alarms signal an abnormal status in • Rate of Change (ROC) alarmsthe telemetered values. System alarms include those • reep Detection alarm - declared when a point Ccaused by an operator’s failed actions; devices such value becomes greater than the initial setpoint valueas printers; low space in hard drives; problems with plus the creep value, or when it becomes less thanservers and workstations; and other situations. Of the initial setpoint value minus the creep valuecourse, system alarms also include those announced • lat alarm - declared when a point value does not Fby Schneider Electric’s ADMS functions such as change within a specified time period (time-out)Load Flow, State Estimation and Performance Indices • igh/Low Instrument Fail alarms - declared when Hwhen there are overloaded elements or elements that the input value at the remote terminal unit (RTU) isare close to or at their maximum allowed temperature outside of the field instrument’s measurable rangelimits. • ADC (Analog to Digital Conversion) monitoringFor telemetered numeric point types such as analog The operator can independently enable/disable eachmeasurements and rate accumulators, high- and low- kind of alarm, but it should be noted that each alarm’salarm limit checking can be enabled or disabled. For annunciation is independent only on a point basis.each numeric point, a high-alarm limit, a low-alarmlimit and an alarm deadband value can be specified. For telemetered discrete point types such as two-A high/low alarm is declared when a point value state, four-state or multi-state digital inputs, eachbecomes greater than the high alarm limit or less than individual state can be declared as a normal orthe low alarm limit. abnormal status. OASyS DNA RealTime service declares an alarm condition for status points if thereFor a return-to-normal condition, the alarm limit is is a telemetered change to any state that is not themodified by the deadband value. If the point is in result of an issued command. Changes to normalthe high-alarm state, a return-to-normal condition is states will generate a ‘Return-to-Normal’ alarmdeclared when the value becomes less than or equal the high limit minus the deadband. If the point isin the low-alarm state, a return-to-normal condition The host computer can be asked to check foris declared when the value becomes greater than or command failures issued to any device capable ofequal to the low limit plus the deadband. receiving digital commands or analog setpoints. If command failure checking is enabled by the systemThe system administrator can define up to four pairs administrator and a commanded point does notof High/Low alarm limits. Other alarm conditions for change to the commanded state before the time-outnumeric point types are: period expires — or, simply, if the command request is invalid or it doesn’t receive a proper response from the RTU — a command failure alarm is declared. White paper | 05
  • 8. Smart Alarming ManagementWhen communication with an RTU fails or is restored, nuisance alarms. After the number of identified retryRealTime service declares an alarm condition. attempts, the RTU is marked as ‘no reply’ and theA communication failure is declared only after a event is logged; however, no alarm is generated untilcertain number of communication retries have been the time-out value specified for the RTU has expired.attempted. The retry limit is specified on a ‘percommunication line’ basis. On the first successfulcommunication after a failure, the system declares a‘communication restored’ condition. In the case of a‘no reply’ RTU condition, a separate time-out valuemight have been defined to prevent the occurrence ofAlarm life cycle Abnormal Condition Event is stored in Historian systemFigure 1 shows the life cycle of an alarm generatedfor the abnormal conditions described in the previous Change to normal condition Unacknowledged and Active Alarm – Blinking ONsection. Change to abnormal condition OperatorAlarm severity acknowledgementFor each point in alarm, the user can configure the Sustain COS alarm Nolevel of severity, or priority. This value not only affectshow the alarms are sorted in the Alarm Summary list Yesbut also dictates other characteristics such as: Acknowledged and Active Alarm – Blinking OFF• Color code of the alarm indicator Change to normal condition• Optional audible tone, message or sound Unacknowledged and inactive Alarm – Blinking ONAn example of color coding, which is fully Operatorconfigurable, is shown in Figure 2. acknowledgement Remove Alarm Severity Color Figure 1. Life cycle of database or system alarm under Level InstAlarm management. Critical Magenta High Red Major Orange Medium Yellow Low Green Minor CyanFigure 2. The user configures the color of alarms to providequick identification of the severity of the alarm. White paper | 06
  • 9. Smart Alarming ManagementConfigurable alarm messagesOASyS DNA infrastructure provides the systemadministrator the ability to customize Messagesfor the more common system alarms. This featureimproves the system customization capabilities.Cleared alarmsBecause of the high number of alarms presented onoperator screens, some utilities appreciate havingan Acknowledge and Clear feature added to thealarm summary page. This two-step functionalityallows the operator to clear alarms from the displayso attention can be focused on new alarms comingin. The Acknowledge function of this feature will stopthe alarm from flashing and will inhibit the associated.wav file (sound) annunciation; the Clear function willremove the acknowledged alarm from the viewablesummary. The Alarm Summary display lists all cleared Calculation DMS RT (Application service) Enginealarms, allowing the operator to select a previously Calculation Enginecleared alarm for recovery.Integration of services within Model Core Network Model Mgmt Topology Function Service ServiceADMS infrastructureThe InstAlarm alarm management system allows Network Network Report Report Model Dynamics DBextended applications that share the OASyS Alarms/Events Alarms/Events ServiceDNA alarm repository to take advantage of thefunctionalities described above. Figure 3 shows how DMD Report Alarms/Events AcknowledgeSchneider Electric’s DMS services and user interface Alarms OASyS DNAshare alarms with the SCADA Realtime Services. Realtime Omnicomm Retrieve RTDB (polling engine) Alarms/Events Report Alarms/Events Retrieve Archived Archive Alarms/Events MS SQL Server Alarms/Events Events, ... Figure 3. SCADA/DMS common alarm repository. White paper | 07
  • 10. Smart Alarming ManagementGraphical User InterfaceSchneider Electric’s ADMS User Interface (HMI)presents alarm messages in the Alarm Summarydisplay, an ordered list in which both system anddatabase alarms are sorted first by priority and thenchronologically so that the newest, highest priorityalarms top the list. The display, an example of whichis shown in Figure 4, includes the alarm date, time,mnemonic code, point description and logging text.All Alarm Summary displays are filtered by the user’sarea of responsibility and can be further filtered byalarm category and the disturbance mode threshold.Alarm summary displays are dynamic; the numberof display pages varies from a single page, up to Figure 4. Alarm Summary many as required to display all of the entries.Sufficient buffer space is provided to handle thenumber of alarms possible in worst-case systemoperation, and in no case are alarms lost due tooverflow.Filtering alarmsThe default Filters panel on the Alarm Summaryallows the user to filter the display to show:• only the points in alarm• only the points not in alarm• only acknowledged alarms• only unacknowledged alarms• alarm filter by Remote• alarm filter by CategoryThe Filters panel on the Alarm Summary can beconfigured to add filters as needed by the user’soperation. White paper | 08
  • 11. Smart Alarming ManagementActionsThe Alarm Summary display enables the operators to:• Acknowledge individual alarms• Access history of alarms, or Event Summary• Acknowledge all alarms listed in the summary• Print the summary• Export the summary to a Microsoft® Excel®-format fileAll alarms must be acknowledged. To do this, an operator with sufficient authoritycan activate the row head button of the Alarm Summary, or alarms can beacknowledged one page at a time. When an alarm is acknowledged, it stopsflashing.Newest Priority AlarmsThe Newest Priority Alarms display, typically located at the bottom of thedispatcher desktop, lists only the unacknowledged alarms or events generated onthe system, with the latest alarm listed at the top of the first page. Operators canacknowledge alarms directly from this window.If there are multiple alarms listed, the most severe are listed first. If there aremultiple alarms of the same severity level, those alarms are listed in the orderreceived. Three additional icons are present on the Newest Priority Alarms display,for:• Silencing alarms• Showing Alarm Summary• Changing the Disturbance modeWhen an operator silences alarms in a specific workstation, current alarmannouncement is temporary turned off in that console until a new alarm isdeclared. Alarm announcement in other network consoles is not affected.Silencing an alarm does not constitute alarm acknowledgment. White paper | 09
  • 12. Smart Alarming ManagementSmart Alarming featuresArea of Responsibility (AOR)Only the alarms for devices that are within theoperator’s area of responsibility, as assigned by thesystem administrator, are shown on the system alarmand station alarm summaries; alarms that are not inthe operator’s area of responsibility are filtered out.If system configuration allows the operator to selectanother area or areas for control and/or viewing of thedatabase summaries and displays, then the operatorwill have access to the Alarm Summary for that area.• f an area is not identified for control by an operator, I the operator is not able to view and acknowledge users can have the same AOR assigned. In addition alarms for that area, even if the area is selected for to user-specified AORs, there is an additional AOR viewing. named Uncovered AORs. Users or consoles that• f an area is selected for control by an operator, I have this AOR assigned to them will receive alarms the operator will be able to view and acknowledge for all uncovered AORs. alarms for that area, even if the area is not selected for viewing. User logout from the DMS system is prevented when• hanging the control area is the only way to affect C such action leaves one or more AORs unmonitored Alarm Summary access. or when there is an uncovered AOR. Dialog will notify the user that this action leaves one or more AORsEstablishing AORs is an effective way to restrict uncovered, and the complete list of AORs in questionsupervisory control, data entry, tag placement and is provided. In case of console failure, an alarm isalarm routing. Assignment of AOR can be restricted generated enabling other users to monitor uncoveredby console and by user, to prevent assignment of AORs.AORs by anyone outside of the control room. MultipleNon-covered alarmsWhere needed, it is possible to designate a workstation to receive non-covered alarms — those from an AORthat is not assigned to an operator, or, in distributed projects, between peer, master, or sub-master systems.Besides user specified AORs, there is also one additional special AOR called Uncovered AORs. Users orconsoles that have this AOR assigned will receive alarms for all uncovered AORs. White paper | 010
  • 13. Smart Alarming ManagementData quality flagsData acquisition processing includes data quality flags associated with eachnumeric and discrete point, both telemetered and calculated. These data qualityflags include:• larm Inhibited – If a point is marked as alarm inhibited, any change in state or A value will not result in the generation of an alarm.• vent Inhibited – If a point is marked as event inhibited, any change in state or E value will update the database but will not result in the generation of an event message or an alarm message.Even if a point has been alarm or event inhibited, the abnormal state flag willremain visible on all the displays and summaries.By-point alarm inhibitOperators can inhibit individual points for alarm announcement. Alarms for thesepoints in the device are suppressed and do not appear in the Alarm Summarydisplay. Since it is still important to be able to scrutinize the alarm conditions andevents generated by testing, the system continues to poll the devices normally.Events are still generated and appear in the event summary with an alarm-inhibitflag to distinguish them from other events.Audible alarmingThe HMI annunciates alarms either by beeping or playing sound files. If configuredto beep when an alarm is generated, the number of beeps will indicate the alarmseverity. Alternately, sound files are supplied that can be configured to play whenalarms of specific severity levels are generated. Additional sound files are easilyadded to the system. Audible alarming announcement can be also inhibited on aby-point basis.Triggered programsOASyS DNA Realtime Services generates alarms and events from telemeteredand calculated point data as well as from application programs within theAdvanced Calculation Engine (ACE) subsystem. The system can be configured sothat specific alarms or events automatically trigger or activate programmed actionsin response. White paper | 11
  • 14. Smart Alarming ManagementDisturbance mode (Storm mode)Within the InstAlarm subsystem, alarming can be configured to operatein Disturbance mode, where low-priority alarms are not processed. AlarmDisturbance mode suspends the processing of lower-priority alarms duringperiods of peak alarm volumes. Disturbance mode includes the followingfunctionalities:• Maximum severity level configuration• bility for applications or operators to enter or exit alarm disturbance mode A• egeneration of alarms for analog, status, and rate points after exiting R disturbance modeStorm mode expands the Alarm Disturbance capabilities with the ability tosuppress the lowest-priority alarms by AOR. The operator can define a differentpriority level for each AOR when activating the Alarm Disturbance mode.Test Mode alarm suppressionTest Mode alarm suppression reduces unnecessary alarms when field devicesare being tested as part of troubleshooting, maintenance and updates. Alarmsgenerated by such devices under these circumstances are not actionable,because they are the result of work being done on the field equipment itself.To use this feature, the user places the device into Test Mode via the GUI. Alarmson any points in the device are suppressed and do not appear in the AlarmSummary. Since it is still important to be able to scrutinize the alarm conditionsand events generated by testing, the system continues to poll the devicesnormally. Events are still generated and appear in the event summary with a testmode flag to distinguish them from other events. White paper | 12
  • 15. Smart Alarming ManagementAlarm suppressionTo reduce nuisance alarms, Schneider Electric’sADMS supports different types of alarm suppression, Parentapplicable to analog and status-telemetered points; alarmsee Figure 5: Child2 Alarm State Child1 Child2 alarm suppression timeout• ontrol-initiated alarm suppression – Operator- C Child1 alarm suppression timeout normal initiated commands can cause many alarms to appear as a direct result of the command. Control- 10 60 100 115 130 Time (Seconds) initiated alarm suppression prevents these alarms from cluttering the alarm table.• ierarchical alarm suppression – Hierarchical alarm H Parent goes into alarm Child alarms Parent returns Child1 returns to Child2 is in a different state  and children are marked are suppressed to normal normal without from where it was at the time  suppression will prevent large numbers of alarms for alarm suppression generating alarms of alarm suppression; therefore,  an alarm is generated for Child2  from cluttering an operator’s display when they are triggered as the result of a single device going into alarm. This suppression applies to parent and child Figure 5. Alarm suppression capabilities. device relationships only; four types of suppression are applicable: - arent alarm timeout – When a parent point goes P - larm hold-off – Alarm hold-off is used to A into alarm or enters a different alarm state, the temporarily suppress child state alarms that result children are marked as suppressed. from data crunching. Other types of alarms, such - arent return-to-normal timeout – The parent P as command failure, execute as normal. Alarm Return-to-Normal (RTN) timeout value assists hold-off is supported for analog and status points. in suppressing child alarms that are held until after the parent returns to normal. In reality, this The combination of alarm suppression types does timeout value can be used either with or without a not affect the performance of each type. An alarm is configured parent alarm timeout value. suppressed when it satisfies one of the suppression - ransient alarm suppression – Transient alarm T criteria. suppression is invoked when a status point changes state, or when an analog point changes between the high/low alarm states. In this case, the child does not have a parent.Alternateoperator to selectLimit limit set and assign it to anThis feature allows the Alarm an alternate Setsanalog group. When a new limit set is assigned to a group of analog points, allpoints in the group will immediately be subjected to the new limits. White paper | 13
  • 16. Smart Alarming ManagementDynamic Alarm LimitsDynamic Alarm Limit is a new feature in the Smart Alarming infrastructure wherelimit values depend on predefined input signals. Dynamic Alarm Limit can beprofile-based, analog-based or interval-based. For example, this functionality isuseful when the maximum operational current of a transformer depends on theweather temperature.Dynamic Alarm Limit is, in effect, a special configuration of Alarm Limit Sets, so itcan be used combined with the Alarm Limit Set configuration.Seasonal/24h alarm limitsThe Alternate and Dynamic Alarm Limits functionalities enable the administrator tocreate seasonal or 24-hour limits.Operator alarm overrideSchneider Electric’s ADMS lets the operator override the individual limits values.The HMI will display a summary of all points whose alarms have been manuallyoverridden, including timestamp and identification of the user who applied the newalarm limits. White paper | 14
  • 17. Smart Alarming ManagementLogging and storage: Historian SystemNumeric point limit violations and ‘returns to normal’ are logged as events, unlessthe point is deactivated, manually overridden or event inhibited. Of course, it isalso possible to define alarm/event action classes that will not generate an event.The event history, as part of Schneider Electric’s ADMS Historian System, providesa chronological record of changes in the system’s condition, as well as actionstaken by system users over time.Alarms and events are logged to Historian Services, and the logs are then storedonline for a configurable time period by the Historical Database for immediateretrieval and analysis. After receiving data from other ADMS Services, HistoricalDatabase can summarize this data for use in reports, displays, trends, reports andanalysis applications.In order to manage events and analyze past alarm states, it is necessary to beable to categorize events into various types. To facilitate this categorization, eventinformation available includes the source of the alarm (system, database, orapplication); the alarm inhibit type if it exists (none, unknown, application-specific,transient, parent alarm, parent control, inhibited, and test mode); and the type ofcontrol for control events, i.e., alarm acknowledgements are distinguished.Based on Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Schneider Electric’s ADMSHistorian System also automatically generates detailed reports organizedaccording to the location of the alarm, to facilitate compliance processes and tomonitor and improve staff performance. White paper | 015
  • 18. Smart Alarming ManagementConclusionElectric utilities are seeing more solutions becoming available to them to helprealize the Smart Grid that will optimize distribution operations effectiveness andefficiency. Schneider Electric’s InstAlarm Smart Alarming management solution isdesigned to take advantage of the seamless integration of the field-proven OASySDNA SCADA and DMS services enabled by Schneider Electric’s ADMS. As thiscomprehensive solution collects and analyzes real-time data from intelligentfield devices and recognizes and automates appropriate network adjustments,the Smart Alarming solution identifies events judiciously at every level, helpingoperators focus on truly significant performance issues and improve their responseefforts. Combining Smart Operations and Smart Alarming is a significant steptoward a streamlined, effective and safe Smart Grid. White paper | 16
  • 19. ©2012 Schneider Electric. All rights reserved.Schneider Electric USA, Inc. 4701 Royal Vista Circle Fort Collins, CO 80528 Phone: -866-537-1091 1 + (34) 9-17-14-70-02 Fax: 1-970-223-5577 December 2012