Representation of an electric power system traditionally consists of a one line diagram that shows essential information such as current and voltage levels, switch status etc. in a two-dimensional map. The information is real time and shown on the Human Machine Interface, (HMI), of the utility SCADA system. Integrating a video system with the SCADA HMI adds another dimension of real time visualization that is critical in making operational decisions and providing trending analysis input to prevent outages and prolong the life of high value assets.

While a SCADA or OMS/DMS system can provide critical information on the status of the system such as a breaker trip and power outage, visual and thermal video information can provide confirmation of the cause of the event and create real time situational awareness. Why did the breaker trip and what is happening now? Is a power line down? Is there a fire or leakage? With this information, the utility can safely and securely reduce the outage time by having visualization of the problem before rolling the truck.

More importantly, video information can reveal system inefficiencies by finding temperature hotspots in the system so the utility can make repairs before the failure occurs. Transformer losses, voltage drops and load imbalances can be caused by leakage current in insulators or high resistance connections in power system components. These components will often show increased heat buildup that can be detected by monitoring with thermal cameras. Continuous monitoring will provide alerts and trending data as the system goes through load cycles allowing the utility to perform condition based maintenance on the system before failures and outages occur.