Utility companies around the world are concerned about the vulnerability of the power grid to cyber attacks by parties seeking to gain unauthorized access to sensitive systems and data. There is an intense focus on deployment of technologies that will help make the grid more secure by deterring these attacks and crimes. Management of the grid requires an array of critical systems that shift and balance loads, route and reroute electricity flow, take substations offline for maintenance, monitor transmission circuit performance, etc. The challenge for the Utility Industry today is to ensure that individuals accessing these systems and networks are authenticated to be who they claim to be – not hackers or other frauders who may have stolen a digital token, password, laptop computer or mobile device.
TradeHarbor offers the Utility Industry the Voice Signature ServiceSM (VSS). The VSS uses voice biometrics to provide strong voice authentication and legally binding Voice Signatures over the telephone, Internet and mobile devices, including an audit trail to help prevent fraud. TradeHarbor’s voice authentication solutions provide the Utility Industry a state-of-the-art multi-factor authentication solution coupled with cost advantages in both implementation and maintenance.
In this suite of Flash demonstrations for the Energy and Electric Utilities Industries, you will see the following scenarios:
- Peak Load Management
Peak load management is becoming increasingly important, as strong growth in demand for electricity is coupled with constrained growth in generation and transmission capability. This imbalance squeezes margins of extra capacity that guarantee the reliability of the grid, and increases risk of voltage collapse and power outages if equipment failures occur during periods of high demand. Intensive real-time load monitoring and quick response to problems is an absolute requirement. And utilities must ensure that the underlying computer and communications infrastructure can be accessed only by authenticated personnel.
In this demo, a utility employee adds generating capacity to meet a short-term spike in demand. The Voice Signature Service authenticates the employee for access to the highly-sensitive systems and process controls she must interact with to make these adjustments.
- Substation Maintenance
High-voltage substations are key components of the power grid. Their continual availability and reliability is a must if outages are to be avoided. Often, routine maintenance tasks such as insulator change-outs and voltage testing must be performed while substations are energized. Other tasks such as change-out of disconnect switches may require taking the substation offline. Both cases require close ongoing coordination between central operations and field personnel. And these maintenance tasks must be performed only by individuals who have been authenticated to have access to the systems, data and process controls involved.
In this demo, a field maintenance specialist requests that operations de-energize a portion of a high-voltage substation in order to initiate a disconnect switch change-out. The Voice Signature Service authenticates the specialist, who may be either a utility employee or contractor, as authorized to access the premises and perform these tasks.
- Outage Management
Power outages can occur due to failures in equipment or problems in the underlying communications and computer network supporting the grid. Outages, when they do happen, must be closely managed in order to restore service and prevent larger-scale failures. Effective response requires closely coordinated efforts of operations and field personnel. The source and cause of the event must be identified, and restoration processes initiated and executed in a time-critical and often high-stress environment. Security is an absolute necessity – these tasks must be performed only by those individuals authorized to access the affected systems and controls.
In this demo, control room operators coordinate with field personnel to reroute and rebalance power loads in order to protect the grid from more extensive failures and cascading outages. The Voice Signature Service authenticates the field engineer who is requesting that power loads be rerouted while a transmission line is repaired.
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