A task force representing about 250 investor-owned electric utilities, public utilities and cooperatives controlling more than 40% of the transmission line mileage in the United States, has selected Cegelec ESCA Corp., Bellevue, Washington, U.S.; TradeWave Corp., Austen, Texas, U.S., and BSG Alliance IT, Inc., Austen, to develop and deliver the first implementation of the Joint Transmission Services Information Network (JTSIN). The new network will be delivered in time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) imposed operation date of Nov. 1, 1996.

First implementation members of the task force include East-Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement (ECAR), Mid-Continent Area Power Pool (MAPP), New England Power Pool (NEPOOL), and Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Other task force members include Mid-America Interconnected Network (MAIN) and Virginia and Carolinas Sub Region (VACAR).

Cegelec ESCA, BSG and TradeWave formed a consortium to jointly develop an Open Access Same-Time Information System, or OASIS (also referred to as an EIN, RIN or TSIN), for North American utilities in response to FERC's mandate that all public utilities develop a system to electronically communicate information about their transmission systems and services to all potential customers at the same time. The commission contends that access to information about the transmission network will enable utilities to reserve or post excess capacity and electronically execute secure transactions over the Internet, ensuring that transmission owners and their affiliates do not have an unfair competitive advantage in using transmission to sell power.

The JTSIN will use the latest security technology from TradeWave to create a "virtual private Internet" (VPI), where mission-critical transactions can be performed, such as the posting and reservation of electric power transmission capacity.

SVC Systems Commissioned for Utility Consortium Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc., Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S., has completed two high-tech static VAR compensator (SVC) systems that will increase the electric power transfer capacity of the Phoenix-Mead and Mead-Adelanto transmission system from central Arizona to Los Angeles, California, U.S.

As the project's turnkey contractor, Siemens was responsible for the design, installation and commissioning of the two systems, which were ordered by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in November 1994 on behalf of a 16-member west coast utility consortium. The contract was valued at nearly US$40 million.

The project required the installation of two SVC systems: one in Adelanto, California near Los Angeles, and the other near Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Both are part of a new 500-kV transmission line.Moreover, both sites belong to the Western Systems Coordinating Council (WSCC) power grid, which provides electricity to 14 western states, as well as provinces in Canada and Mexico.

While increasing the capacity of the system, SVC also protects against potentially dangerous power swings that can occur during and after system disturbances. SVC stabilizes line voltages, dampening low-frequency power system oscillation while simultaneously avoiding subsynchronous torsional interaction.

Customer Service System Introduced Andersen Consulting, Chicago, Illinois, U.S., has launched Utiligent, a new enterprise in the electric utility industry that will offer a new kind of customer service system _ the first to be delivered on a subscription basis via a network.

Utiligent provides a full-function customer service system, called Utiligent Customer, delivered completely on client/server technology. No mainframes are used outside of the clients' legacy systems, which enables utilities to be functional and flexible, according to Andersen.

The system provides for advanced billing functionality that replaces many tasks that must be manually completed today, as well as customer commitment scheduling, customer outage information, customer-based billing, and point-of-sale telemarketing of energy-related services.

Utiligent plans to partner with its clients to provide shared business processes. Once a utility's existing legacy systems are interfaced to the Utiligent network, Utiligent Customer is accessed and purchased on a per-transaction basis. While customer functions, such as billing, customer accounting and market segmentation capabilities, are accessed through the network, the utility retains strategic functions, such as pricing and sole access to its customer database.

The client/server hardware eliminates the need for costly mainframe upgrades by providing cost-effective scalability to easily handle increased volumes and new product development.

While the system currently operates on a private network, Utiligent will eventually begin using the network and services provided by a new joint venture formed by Andersen and BBN Corp., Boston, Massachussetts, U.S. In June, the two companies announced the formation of the joint venture to establish a business "utility" that companies can plug into and quickly begin conducting electronic commerce and other business operations over the Internet. Built upon open Internet standards, server-based business process architectures, and object-oriented computer languages such as Java, the venture's services will provide and electronic suite of essential business processes, such as billing and order processing; data operations centers delivering service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and a secure network infrastructure with support for multiple tiers of privacy, performance and availability.