Building a Custom Network Infrastructure for Today and Tomorrow’s Power Needs | Black & Veatch

PowerSouth Network Master Planning

Building a Custom Network Infrastructure for Today and Tomorrow’s Power Needs

Project Name
PowerSouth Network Master Planning
Alabama and Florida
PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
PowerSouth Energy Cooperative Service Area

49 total counties

33,000+ square miles

2,285 miles of transmission lines

299 substations

441,429 average customers served

Like other utilities, PowerSouth has been faced with the need to increase capacity to accommodate growing demand from customers. The increased capacity requires network expansion to edge devices beyond substations.

PowerSouth also faced aging and obsolete equipment within their networks complicating system upgrades. Add critical factors like route diversity, connectivity, coverage, bandwidth requirements, reliability, security and latency, and the undertaking became more daunting.

Augmenting the PowerSouth Team

PowerSouth recognized the need for a telecommunications master plan before undergoing an upgrade to their communication architecture at this scale. Their internal networks team was also already occupied with ongoing projects to bolster system reliability.

To validate their existing operation and provide a vendor-neutral perspective on future network design, PowerSouth enlisted Black & Veatch to work alongside their networks team to fully integrate planning, engineering, design and implementation.

A Guide Through Implementation & Launch

Black & Veatch is working alongside PowerSouth to incorporate its proven process for planning and deploying a new network system.

> Planning

> Assessment

> Architecture

> Design

> Implementation

> Optimization

The phases are designed to consider all aspects of the utility network, including network management, capacity planning, optimization, data center communications, voice and data integration and security compliance to give PowerSouth a comprehensive view of their needs and the network infrastructure needed to support it now and into the future.  Phases 1 through 3, essentially, make up the master plan which encompassed the following:

  • Updated Network Design for MPLS
  • Optimized Microwave Network Plan
  • RF Middle mile solution
  • Optimized RF last mile solution to the edge devices
  • Optimized LMR network coverage plan

Understanding the need to support PowerSouth’s mission-critical infrastructure to enable system optimization was a priority for the collective team. Now that the master plan is completed, the utility has a roadmap for completing and launching the network.  

“Black & Veatch’s expertise in power distribution, network infrastructure and wireless and wireline technologies helped us collaboratively develop solutions that met our customers’ needs. Having a partner throughout the planning process allowed us to integrate these solutions seamlessly.”

- Chad B. Jenkins, Telecom Services Manager, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Smarter Utility Networks for Smarter Capital Investments

Because the master planning process addressed current and future network needs, PowerSouth can implement upgrades as their networks require over a 10-year period. This allows them to use their capital investment wisely, spending construction dollars as they are needed. The plan also ensured synergies between current and forecasted network use cases, financial and marketplace conditions, and business requirements and regulatory issues.

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