Prior to deploying NISC Operations Analytics (OA), Cass County Electric Cooperative in Fargo, N.D., was feeling inundated with time-series data, unsure of how to turn that data into something manageable and helpful.

“We deployed Operations Analytics because we wanted to improve system efficiencies,” said Bryce Johanneck, meter data management technician for Cass County Electric. “Our previous way of managing our distribution system relied on a lot of time-series data. You’re giving it a monthly reading and another monthly reading, and you’re doing some time series analysis on that. Operations Analytics is a great way to utilize a very robust AMI system to make pertinent engineering calculations on your system.”

One major feature of NISC Operations Analytics that has proven crucial for Cass County is the transformer loading module. The functionality has allowed them to easily identify transformer issues and move them around to make better use of oversized transformers at existing services.

“Using OA has definitely saved us money and prevented us from having major issues,” Johanneck said. “We’ve upgraded transformers prior to outages which would have otherwise been very difficult or next to impossible because you had to aggregate all of that Member data at one location. It’s proven very beneficial.”

Johanneck also stressed the importance of having clean source data and paying attention to your AMI system and how it is modeled. Having good, usable data along with OA will provide a very accurate and reliable engineering model.

“Today, a lot of us aren’t very good at keeping our source data clean,” Johnneck said. “You have plant changes, additions, removals and your engineering model is now quickly out of date, especially if you’re in an area where there are a lot of changes. If we pay close attention to our AMI system and update our model once a day or once a week, we can get to a great spot where our AMI database is going to be continually up to date with new meters.”

Not only does using OA help to ensure an up-to-date system, but also provides an easy-to-use interface to make data comparisons and reports.

“OA makes it easy to aggregate all of that interval data, voltage data or blank data into an engineering model with a user-friendly, graphical interface,” Johanneck said. “At Cass County Electric we utilize the Operations Analytics webpage piece primarily for transformer loading. It’s very helpful for that and has a nice summary page and overview page. NISC has been very helpful at helping us set different criteria and thresholds for when we consider transformers underloaded, overloaded or critically overloaded. It’s easy to log in each day and the pages load fast and that’s impressive because it’s chewing on a lot of very granular AMI data.”