Advanced Control Systems has supplied the first two of 63 Connex 30 Substation Managers to Colorado Springs Utilities as part of an ongoing reliability improvement project. Installation was a joint effort involving both Springs Utilities and ACS.

The deciding factor was the substantial cost savings made possible by the flexible ACS approach to upgrading, which has proven advantages over direct replacement of an old RTU.

In planning for the project, Colorado Springs Utilities recognized that rewiring and retermination represented a substantial portion of potential renovation costs. The Advanced Control Systems solution leaves nearly all local terminations and wiring untouched.

According to Clint Cowan, business unit manager for substation integration at ACS, “Our first deployment of this strategy -- upgrading Landis & Gyr/Moore RTUs at a large midwestern utility -- resulted in savings of $34,000 per substation. Engineering costs were nearly eliminated, and overall project expenses were 59% lower, compared to a replacement solution.”

The project, which is expected to take four years, uses Connex 30 Substation Managers to upgrade Ferranti Outpost RTUs that are no longer supported by the original manufacturer or the company that now owns the product line. A Connex 30 replaces the Ferranti hardware, then connects to the existing Ferranti termination modules. Since the utility is moving from an obsolete protocol to the open DNP3 protocol (ACS was an early champion of DNP, and made substantial contributions to its development), Springs Utilities will create the database with Connex/NTU Explorer drag-and-drop configuration software.