by Divina Paredes

CIO 100: Transpower NZ

Mar 24, 2016
Technology Industry

TRANSPOWER OWNS AND operates New Zealand’s national grid – the high-voltage network that carries electricity around the country, powering businesses and communities – and supports a competitive electricity market. Information services and technology (IST) general manager Cobus Nel says Transpower’s IST team delivers and supports the infrastructure and applications that interface the grid technology and connect the system operator and the market.

“IST develops, builds and implements solutions in order for Transpower to have the real-time communication, information, tools, systems, hardware and software it needs to meet the demands of a safe, cost effective and high performance grid. Whilst the majority of IST investment is focused on the continued maintenance and refresh of our existing IST assets, there is also a programme of improvement, to reduce risk and improve the efficiency of our services.”

Current projects for IST include substations migration to Transpower’s national broadband telecommunications network, TransGo; upgrades to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) services and Financial Management Information System (FMIS); the building and commissioning of new buried fibre cable on the West Coast; Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) interface replacement; and conclusion of a data centre transition programme, which will see two dedicated data centres housing its critical and critical enabling systems.

“There is also a continuing focus on asset management in order to save Transpower, the electricity industry and New Zealand consumers unnecessary cost. The towers, poles, cables and substations that make up the grid must be maintained to maximise investment. Our asset management system, Maximo, streamlines our processes and practises, ensuring we have an optimised asset maintenance programme for every type of asset we own, from circuit breakers to tower foundations.”

One of Transpower’s key initiatives is the rollout of semi-quantitative risk analysis (SQRA) and bowtie risk assessment. These processes are utilised successfully to improve all areas of the organisation including the improvement of cybersecurity controls.

“Other major investments include utilising cloud services, infrastructure consolidation, collaboration technologies and application integration and in upcoming months the team will also work on condition based risk management, data quality, and intelligent alarm monitoring.” says Nel.