Powerco opts for Zetron radcoms system

Zetron’s IP-based AcomNOVUS dispatch system will be deployed at Powerco’s network operations centre

Electricity and gas distributor Powerco has chosen US based Zetron to provide a dispatch system and radio network repeaters that, according to Zetron, will strengthen Powerco’s communications and improve worker safety in the field.

Zetron’s IP-based AcomNOVUS dispatch system will be deployed at Powerco’s network operations centre (NOC) in New Plymouth and will provide integrated communications for Powerco’s new Hytera radio network and its existing SIP telephony system.

Zetron will also install an addition 30 repeater stations to improve radio coverage in remote areas where Powerco field staff often lose communication. As a result, says Zetron, “NOC operators’ awareness of what is happening in the field will be greatly improved, particularly during severe storms.”

Radio communications equipment maker, Hytera, announced in October that, in partnership with ICT service provider Broadspectrum, it had been awarded a contract from Powerco for a trunked radio network.

“In the upcoming 12 months, Hytera Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Tier 3 trunked system hardware will be deployed to build a private, fully digital, and secure Powerco's 30,000-km electric-power network that covers 80 percent of the territories of New Zealand North Island electricity distribution area,” a post on Hytera’s Facebook page said.

It added: ”In addition, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solution will also be deployed in the Powerco project to achieve smart management and higher operation efficiency of power network as well as to shorten processing time of fault and ensure safe and even power distribution.

Powerco’s network operations manager, Phil Marsh, said a key feature of the AcomNOVUS system was its ability to prioritise both incoming radio and telephone calls. He said Powerco hoped to deploy the Zetron technology this financial year in Western Bay of Plenty, Thames, Coromandel, and Eastern and Southern Waikato. Work on the company’s remaining network is expected to follow soon after.

“This new, state-of-the-art system … will allow our field staff to maintain vital contact with the NOC while working in most parts of our network.” Mash said. “This will greatly improve the safety of our crews and the efficiency of our dispatching, and will also reduce our response and restore times.”

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