A Vendor-Neutral Consultant Updates Us On SCADA in Energy Utilities

Vendor-neutral consulting is an integral facet of any pipeline system utilizing SCADA systems. This form of consulting effectively employs customer-specific standards to fit the needs of any industry, whether oil and gas, electric utility, or traction power.

Duane Clementson, vice president of operations at UTSI International, possesses extensive experience managing SCADA systems thanks to his work under four different SCADA companies. Mr. Clementson has worked with six different SCADA packages and collaborated with a telecommunications networking company, all while encompassing a variety of energy-related fields.

On today’s Energy Podcast, Mr. Clementson explains why SCADA’s application is changing to moderate costs, both in the number of vendors and overall size. “It used to be that there were many more smaller SCADA companies…focused on very narrow niches in the industry,” he said. “Also, those systems tended to be quite small because of the expensive computing power and the slow and expensive communication links.”

Mr. Clementson added that many of today’s major pipeline operating companies have adopted new, large-scale systems with “one or two major control centers controlling a wide array of pipelines.”

According to Mr. Clementson, the stability of SCADA systems is incumbent upon a company’s ability to disperse its data effectively. This can require additional IT systems, communication routes, and offshore facilities.

“As you bring up more and more data, it becomes more important that you offload that data to other systems,” he said.

Mr. Clementson said that frequent verification is essential to any customer’s SCADA network.

“You need a qualified staff and vendor to monitor its health,” Mr. Clementson said.