Electric Reliability Planning

Electric System Reliability Planning

The Challenge

Municipal and Rural Electric utility systems are faced with growing challenges on their systems that impact service reliability.   These complexities include:

  • Load Growth
  • Housing and Commercial development
  • Interconnection of renewable energy sources
  • Residential Solar
  • Aging infrastructure

A system assessment provides the details needed for utility stakeholders to determine improvements as their systems grow more complex.

The Solution

ControlPoint Technologies offers a comprehensive approach to improving reliability on Municipal and Rural Electric Systems.  In a phased approach, the electric utility receives an executive summary with detailed analysis to plan improvements on their system.  Below we discuss the solution phases that are deployed.

Phase One (Records)

A records assessment identifies information gaps before analysis may begin.  Electric utility records include circuit maps, conductor types, distribution equipment, span lengths, and pole-top configurations.  System Planning Engineers utilize these inputs to build the System Impedance Model.

Phase Two (Modeling)

ControlPoint's engineering team utilizes CYME Power Engineering Software to build the System Impedance Model.   Models begin from the Substation source to each three-phase and single-phase circuit end-of-line.

Phase Three (Study)

Planning Engineers analyze the system for feeder backup opportunities during peak load conditions.  Problem areas related to voltage or thermal issues are identified.  Protection Engineers will review Protective Device Coordination.  The recommended mitigations will ensure adequate system performance (thermal, voltage, protection) for feeder backups.  System planners will also review Load Growth projections during this phase of the study.

ControlPoint's Substation Engineering team will perform substation assessment to address concerns with existing substation infrastructure.   The assessment includes review of support structures, station equipment, transformer loading, protective equipment, control house improvements and bus transfer schemes.  As load growth projections are identified, substations may need to be expanded, retired and/or added to meet future system needs.

The final report includes documentation of the analysis, in depth review of existing system conditions, mitigations, and order-of-magnitude estimates with options.  Conceptual one-lines, cut-over steps, and sequence of design and construction are also provided.

Phase Four (Planning & Procurement)

ControlPoint's Project Managers work with the Electric Utility to develop a detailed plan for the engineering, procurement, and construction of the approved modifications.   Most importantly, Project Managers will work to minimize outages during construction.

ControlPoint engineers will take on the role of Owner's Engineer to support bid events needed for equipment procurement.  The Owner's Engineer writes technical bid specifications and participates in bid evaluation with utility stakeholders.

Phase Five (Implementation)

With ControlPoint's engineering, design, and project management staff, the electric utility is provided with support throughout the implementation phase of the system reliability plan.   ControlPoint's project teams are deployed to develop detailed design packages for use in construction.  The implementation phase offers the opportunity to develop new system standards that can improve efficiency and reliability for the utility.


Reliability studies are a valuable tool for electric utility stakeholders facing new challenges on their systems.  For additional information or to speak with one of our engineering consultants, please go to our Contact Us page and send us some preliminary information describing your challenge.   We will get back to you to discuss the next steps.



Transmission System Protection

Transmission System Protection

ControlPoint Technologies is currently supporting Electric Power Utilities in the Northeast where the Transmission System is continually upgraded to improve reliability.

Programs are underway to replace obsolete relays where spare parts are difficult to obtain.  Relay packages responsible for circuit breaker operation, line communications, and transformers are moving to the latest technology of microprocessor devices and communications.   The upgrade of these devices improves reliability by clearing and isolating fault conditions.

A typical project will begin with a comprehensive Field Assessment of existing conditions and as-built status of Substation drawings and schematics.   A detailed scope of the project is provided to the utility to be sure all deliverables are clearly outlined and to clarify any unknowns for the project. 

ControlPoint proposals include:  project background and justification, detailed scope, specific deliverables, standards to be utilized, required meetings, project staffing requirements, project schedule, and project budget.

Deliverables include:  one line diagrams, three line diagrams, control schematics, protection and control panel layouts, physical drawings, bill of materials, cable/conduit schedules, SCADA requirements, and interconnection diagrams.

Each package will be issued for review and approval as agreed upon in the initial project meetings.   Following each review period, the drawings will be revised until reaching the final package to be Issued For Construction.

ControlPoint Lead Engineers are Licensed Professional Engineers in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Distribution Line Interconnection

Distribution Line Interconnection

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) installations are on the rise throughout the Northeast.  Since 2010, ControlPoint has supported utilities at the Planning stage of these installations by providing system impact studies. 

The studies performed include:  Load Flow Analysis, Protection and Coordination Review, Thermal Analysis, Flicker Analysis, and Project Estimates.

As the projects move into construction, ControlPoint’s Overhead Distribution Design team provides the engineering required to interconnect the new generation to the distribution system.

The typical scope of the design may include Voltage Conversion, Reconductoring, New Transformers, Reclosers, and New Pole Locations.  The Distribution team begins each project with a field assessment of existing conditions and begins to layout the design.   ControlPoint may provide customer interface for the utility where easements and permits are required.

Following the constructability review with local utility operations, the detailed design is assembled in GIS along with supporting engineering drawings and project estimates.

Fast moving schedules and accelerated utility customer timelines are supported through ControlPoint’s Project Management team and dedicated Distribution Engineering Project Leads.

Underground Distribution Improvements

Oil Fused Cutout Replacement Program

ControlPoint Technologies provides engineering, design and project management services the removal of over 150 Oil Fused Cutouts (OFC) in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Replacing the OFC’s with pad mounted and/or submersible switches (ranging from 2-4 sources, 2-4 fused positions) will increase worker safety and circuit reliability while reducing outage time.

The project includes the replacement of direct buried cables with new conduit and cable.  ControlPoint is responsible for working with private property owners and securing easements for the installation of the new conduit and cable on all properties involved with each replacement.  The successful negotiations have resulted in several dozen easements being granted and will provide more reliable distribution to hundreds of homes.

Throughout the design, ControlPoint is responsible for gathering and incorporating all underground utility plans, performing field measurement and verification.  ControlPoint prepares documents and sketches for manhole survey crews. This information is then analyzed and incorporated info final design plans to include civil conduit plans and electrical one-lines.

ControlPoint is responsible for securing city council approval, preparing civil bid packages, requesting and attending construction review and pre-bid meetings, creating work orders for all electrical work, and providing construction support throughout the installation.

Dividing the various projects between multiple design teams has allowed ControlPoint to make the most use of its experience and expertise while keeping tight control on schedule and attention to detail.  This approach enables the design team to quickly respond to the unique challenges of each project.

The aggressive schedule for the removal of OFC’s on several primary feeders has been a welcome challenge to ControlPoint.  Being the central design and coordination consultant has allowed ControlPoint to manage schedule as well as make the most use of the experience across the design teams.

Distributed Energy Resource Planning

Distributed Energy Resource Planning

In recent years State Regulators have amended Net Metering Rules making it much more desirable for developers to install Distributed Energy Resources (DER) onto electrical power distribution systems. These drastic changes have contributed to a large amount of DER installations, such as Photovoltaic (PV), Battery Storage, and Wind Turbines, onto local distribution systems.

ControlPoint Technologies is currently working on several System Impact Studies to determine analyze the installations of Solar, Battery, and/or Wind Turbine generators on the proposed distribution feeders.

The studies develop service connection requirements and analyze thermal capability, voltage stability, overvoltage conditions, protection coordination, and metering while following State Tariff Compliances and Industry Codes and Standards.

Throughout all phases of the studies ControlPoint Technologies Engineers provide technical support to local utilities and developers. Analytical reports are developed which include results, recommendations, and conceptual estimates determined during analysis phase.

Recent Solar installations has created congestion in some distribution areas.   ControlPoint Technologies provides group area studies to determine the optimal configuration of DER generation and provide the planning studies needed by local utilities to ensure quality service to customers in the area.