What Do You Need to Know About Substation Automation?

Around 30 years ago, substation automation was introduced to the transmission and distribution sector in substations. It has made engineering more manageable, and it also saves costs. 

But what else should I know about it? Have you ever wondered? Don’t worry because we will explain all about it in this article. 

Here’s a simple, definitive guide to help you understand more.

Substation Automation, The Definition.

What is substation automation? 

It is using data from Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED), control, and automation capabilities within the substation.

It also refers to using data to control commands from remote users to control power-system devices. 

They are usually used in over-current protection and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA). 

It also has many levels that will be explained later on in this article.

Intelligent Electronic Device

The term Intelligent Electronic Device or IED was mentioned earlier in the definition of substation automation.

IEDs are a key component of substation integration and automation technology. But what is it?

IEDs are microprocessor-based controllers of power system equipment. Some of these power system equipment include transformers, circuit breakers, and capacitor banks. 

It has many benefits, including helping utilities improve reliability and even enabling asset management programs. IED technology is very advanced, and it is just getting started.

IEDs can facilitate data, whether it is operational or non-operational.

This allows it to contain valuable information when implemented in substations and provides interoperability and advanced communications capabilities.

They receive data from sensors and can send control commands. For example, if they sense anomalies such as voltage or current, the trip circuit breakers stop this.

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5 Levels of Substation Automation

As mentioned earlier, there are many levels of this. In this section, we will explain to you the 5 levels. It will be revealed starting from the lowest level to the highest. 

1. Power System Equipment

Some power system equipment includes circuit breakers, transformers, and capacitor banks. This type of equipment is crucial to help control the power system.

The power system is a network that consists of the generation, distribution, and transmission systems. There are five substations in the power system. These 4 substations are:

  • Generating Substation
  • Transmission Substation
  • Sub-transmission Substation
  • Distribution Substation

2. IED Implementation

The next level is the implementation of an intelligent electronic device. This is when you first implement the devices into the system. 

This may be because you have a recurring problem: you need fixing or just simply want to improve the existing system you already have.

3. IED Integration

This is the integration of the IED section. This is the integration of protection, control, and data acquisition functions into a minimal number of platforms.

Some of the reasons may be to reduce capital and operating costs, reduce panel and control room space, and eliminate redundant equipment and databases.

4. Substation Automation Applications

The fourth level is the substation automation applications. So, what are the applications?

Some of its functions are integrated volt-var control in order to optimize the management of capital assets.

It also allows the enhancement of operations and maintenance efficiencies with minimal human intervention. It will improve the operating efficiency of the system.



5. The Utility Enterprise

This is the last and highest level. There are a few functional data paths from the substation that leads to the utility enterprise. The primary paths are:

  • Operational Data to SCADA Systems
  • Non- Operational Data to Data Warehouse
  • Remote Access To IED

Out of these 3 paths, the most common one, however, is the first one, which is transmitting the operational data to the utility’s SCADA

This information that is conveyed is vital to monitor and control the power system.

The most difficult and challenging data path out of the 3 paths mentioned is conveying the non-operational data to the utility’s data warehouse.

In conclusion, the substation automation system has been a blessing for engineers and those who work in the field.

It has proven to be cost-saving and has proven to work very efficiently. It is a system that will only get better due to the technological advances that our world has.

Are you looking for a company in Malaysia that offers Substation Automation solutions? Look no further than Progressive Impact Technology (PITECH).

PITECH offers several solutions that you can choose according to your need. Each one has its own benefit that can help you!


  1. RTUC50 – The RTU50 architecture is designed with a flexibility that allows users to configure Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) into many different configurations.

Here are some of its advantages:

  • Distributed processing for high availability and diversity in Electric Power Substation architectures
  • Flexible Power Supply
  • Highly reliable operation over a wide temperature and electrical noise ranges
  • Support 28, 48 & 129 V DC Source
  • Optonet (Link to other RTU)
  • I/O Modules
  1. RTU SCD5200 – The SCD5200 model unites functions and advantages of the RTU50 series from Foxboro at a higher level of communications, integration, and technical configuration.

Here are some of its advantages:

  • Protocols of interfaces: DNP, IEC 60870-101, 104, Modbus
  • WISP + support of the protocol of telecontrol
  • Display of data of the client according to IEC 61850 for monitoring of electric substations
  • The distributed architecture
  • Compact multiblock CCP
  • The world database about various connected knots


  1. HU_BI – This is a highly-evolved field device, offering a solid and powerful platform for data acquisition, communication, automation, and IED integration.

Here are some of its advantages:

  • High availability and diversity in electric power substation architectures via distributed processing
  • Highly scalable I/O
  • Efficient power system expansion using SCD5200/RTU50 installations based on the continued expansion of OptoNet networks
  • Easy upgrade and replacement of CPUs in existing electro bus racks without refactoring, rewiring or replacing extensive IO subsystem
  • Optonet (Link to other RTU)
  • Easy expansion, upgrading, and repair without having to re-engineer or recommission affected power system
  1. HU250 – U250 Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) is a modular platform of hardware and firmware, and the new benchmark in power distribution automation.

Here are some of its advantages:

  • Flexible communication to control centres and wider networks
  • Standard and more secure protocols: IEC 101/104, DNP3, IEC 61850, Modbus
  • Open peer-to-peer communication for self-healing applications
  • Flexible communication media: Ethernet, USB, GPRS, 2G, 3G, 4G, RS232/485…
  • Open to third party devices with many protocol capabilities
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for local operation
  • Compliance with IEC 62351 and IEEE P1686

So, what are you waiting for? Contact PITECH now to find out more! 

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