New Video Walls Meet Demanding Control Room Requirements, Enhance Operators’ Ability to Ensure Consistent Delivery of Power to Customers
PNM, a subsidiary of PNM Resources, is the state’s largest electricity provider. It serves more than 500,000 residential and business customers in Greater Albuquerque, and in municipalities ranging north through Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico and south as far as the city of Deming. PNM is among the growing number of forward-looking electric utilities that have equipped their control rooms with digital video walls for improved power management.
In PNM’s case its new ultra-high resolution LCD displays from Planar Systems replace a paper-based system on which operators have relied for many years. While this paper-based system was an accepted monitoring tool, PNM recognized that a digital display system would enable its operators to have a much clearer view of the power grid at any given moment. After a TMS and SCADA upgrade in 2015, the operators will be able to monitor power flow using the new displays and respond accordingly.
Systems integrator, 5280 Digital (Centennial, Colorado) partnered with the utility to select and implement a 4K digital video wall platform for PNM’s newly remodeled Power Grid Control Operations Center in Albuquerque. 5280 Digital specified Planar® UltraRes™ Series 84-inch displays, a new family of Ultra HD large format LCD displays that set the industry standard for resolution, picture quality and dependability.
“Utilities like PNM place a very high value on technology that allows them to consistently deliver reliable power to their customers,” says Larry Crawford, Sales Engineer for 5280 Digital. “Nothing on the market was able to match the Planar UltraRes Series in performance required in PNM’s demanding control room environment.”
PNM’s Mary Anne Brandon – Manager Team II DOC Operations – says the utility began to see benefits from the new displays almost as soon as they were installed. “We can zoom in and see system configuration at a glance which is critical when switching loads, and the detail that the Planar UltraRes displays provide allows our operators to spot bottlenecks and potential problems long before they can become larger issues.”
Together, PNM and 5280 Digital chose a highly redundant configuration for the Distribution Control Operations Center. Two to three operators staff the center during each shift, with each operator monitoring an assigned area working from a two-by-two (2x2) Planar UltraRes Series display array, with a second two-by-two (2x2) display set as backup. Each display presents content at up to 3840 x 2160 or native 4K resolution. Content currently consists of maps of each assigned monitoring sector that show the continuing status of the particular area’s power grid. In conjunction with SCADA monitoring the operator can pinpoint where resources need to be applied in order for an operator to optimally and safely manage energy traffic for an assigned area.
In addition to the very high resolution, Planar UltraRes Series displays offer dynamic contrast with local dimming capability and a full-field contrast ratio of 1600:1. Brightness is 450 nits and the displays can handle up to one million colors at up to 10-bit color depth. PNM also knows it can count on Planar UltraRes Series displays to perform with very high reliability. Every Planar UltraRes Series display is professional-grade and engineered with redundant power supplies, a durable LED backlight, and the ability to operate 24/7/365.
“Then there is the Planar difference,” says Larry Crawford of 5280 Digital. “Whenever PNM or we see a problem with Planar UltraRes Series – and none has occurred yet – Planar makes its engineers available to us by phone in a matter of minutes. Contrast that with other display manufacturers who only provide automated service, or if they do provide personal support, it gets delivered in days or weeks.”