Development of a Situation Awareness System for Disturbance Management of Electricity Networks

Research output: ThesisDissertationMonograph


Numerous major disturbances in electricity networks have affected Finland in recent years, due to weather conditions like storms or snow loads on trees. In addition to Distribution System Operators (DSOs), major disturbances affect on other stakeholders such as Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), fire and rescue services and municipalities. Thus, the information exchange between stakeholders during disturbances plays an essential role in disturbance management. In the field of electricity distribution, studies usually focus on finding ways to prevent disturbances or to recover the network quickly. However, achieving high-level reliability can easily become expensive. This thesis introduces a method to improve the restoration process of electricity networks and resilience of the society during major electricity network disturbances through Situation Awareness (SA) system. It combines information about electricity network outages, disruption of mobile networks and sites that are highly dependent on electricity. Most studies relating situation awareness to disturbances in electricity networks are focused on the transmission networks. This study focuses on distribution networks. This study investigated problems with present methods for information exchange during major disturbances using semi-structured interviews. Additionally, the main information needs of each stakeholder were gathered via interviews and workshops. Information needs were observed to vary by organization. The present systems used during disturbances do not take this variation in account. Further, a concept for an SA system, extended to all stakeholders during major disturbances in electricity networks, was developed and demonstrated. Several versions of the demonstration were presented to test the method during this study. The development process went through several iterations, and each version of demonstration was evaluated with usability methods and through user focus groups in workshops and in interviews. The developed demonstration differs from existing systems, because it combines and processes information from multiple DSOs and MNOs. The demonstrated SA system was shown to be useful for improving the restoration process of electricity networks by combining the information about the interdependencies of stakeholders (e.g., electricity and mobile networks). Further, the each demonstrations of a SA system included a database of critical sites, which stores information about sites or customers that are highly dependent on electricity supply. This method improves the resilience of the society by accounting for the most vulnerable sites in a community during disturbances in electricity networks.The situation awareness system can change the restoration process of electricity networks so that the sites that are most dependent on electricity can be dealt with more efficiently. Additionally, authorities can plan their processes more efficiently based on the locations of these sites. An SA system can decrease the workload of users during disturbances by decreasing the number of views. Overall, this thesis presents a method to combine information from existing systems into an SA system for disturbance management. It highlights the importance of information exchange between different stakeholders during major disturbances in electricity networks. The results of this study can be used for further product development of SA systems.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Tampere University of Technology (TUT)
  • Verho, Pekka, Supervisor, External person
Award date2 Jan 2018
Electronic ISBNs978-952-15-4232-9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


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