Davao Light upgrades IT infra to fend off cyber attacks

Published May 20, 2022, 4:45 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Davao Light upgrades IT infra to fend off cyber attacks

By Myrna M. Velasco

Davao Light and Power Company, a subsidiary-distribution utility of Aboitiz Power Corporation, has reinforced major components of its information technology (IT) infrastructure to fight cyber attacks that may adversely affect service efficiencies to its customers.

In particular, the company’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system had been upgraded, so it can “improve operational efficiency, system reliability, and quality of service for the 465,000 customers within its franchise area.”

By design, the SCADA is a control system in power utilities that comprise of both hardware and software components, that in the process “allows a more seamless way of gathering, monitoring, and controlling real-time data and distant electrical devices installed in the power distribution network.”

According to Davao Light, its SCADA infrastructure enables it to “extract and examine data directly from the field,” and these are vital in enhancing service response to the concerns of customers as well as in the overall improvement of its operations.

“Without the SCADA system, fixing power outages would take several hours as the team would be required to go onsite for manual assessment,” the utility firm explained.

The power company indicated that it is currently at the process of modernizing its SCADA system that had been first installed in 1996, with it emphasizing that “the team is able to restore 65-percent of unplanned interruptions in less than five minutes, resulting in a more efficient and reliable way of providing power to customers.”

Davao Light primarily cites the importance of power utilities’ journey into the transformative digital age, hence, it opts to advance considerably on its IT systems “to protect assets against modern threats like cyber-attacks which can cause electrical blackouts, failure of equipment, and data breaches.”

As emphasized by Engr. Virmel Dabon, system operations manager of Davao Light, “in the near future, we will be implementing distribution automation, enhanced outage management system, and energy management system,” qualifying that “this is to further improve our power system reliability that will be on a par with world-class standards.”

The company conveyed that its ERA substation control center had likewise been upgraded two years ago “to provide tighter security controls on its components like the SCADA server to ensure long-term dependability and protection as these facilities perform their critical functions.”

With that asset enhancement then, Davao Light stated that it can look forward “to a reliable and stable energy future as it continues to enhance its electric power systems.”