Importance of Network Models for ADMS

ADMS is the Cornerstone of Grid Modernization

by Terry Nielsen


To provide a complete decision-support system for monitoring and control of the electrical grid, an advanced ADMS must encompass or integrate to systems and equipment both within the utility infrastructure and at the customer premises. An ADMS must also be able to effectively control appropriate field devices. These complex tasks require the integration of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) with functionality historically in Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Distribution Management Systems (DMS), and Outage Management Systems (OMS).

Additionally, ADMS requires data sources that are often not found in a GIS model. For example, today’s network must deal with many different data sources—not just from SCADA-controlled devices and OMS, but also from advanced metering infrastructures (AMI), intelligent sensors, weather feeds, demand response, and more. Other examples include:

  • Detailed equipment data typically not stored in a GIS, such as short circuit impedances
  • Engineering values for resistance and reactance, susceptance, transformer impedances
  • SCADA monitoring and control points associated with the correct devices in ADMS
  • Substation internals, typically in a one-line diagram or schematic format
  • To-be-constructed/energized conductors or devices

The integration of these systems and ubiquitous data sources requires a “real-time” network model.  ADMS applications require the full functionality of the GIS connectivity model plus the operational aspects of a “real-time” network model. Most utilities rely on the GIS to create the network model. However, the GIS model is relatively static in comparison to the dynamic operational state of the network. Its intent is to represent the network “as constructed” for asset management and inventory accounting. The ADMS model is considered a dynamic operational model often referred to “as operated” model which has “real-time” and “quasi-real time” aspects. This operational model represents the current state of the network.

Change in connectivity and status is managed by device operations and by applying and removing cuts and/or jumpers to the network model.  Another characteristic of the “as operated” model is that it must be electrically phase-based. This means the operational model requires the graphical GIS based model be built with the ability to carry out single- or multi-phase operations and not only display all phases that are present, as is typical of a geographical model.

Distribution networks will become more complex over the next several years with the introduction of emerging technologies, such as: renewable distributed energy resources, EVs, microgrids, etc. The nature of distribution circuits will change in many places from simple radial feeders to feeders that will have generation sources feeding into the grid with bi-directional power flows. It will become increasingly important for the operator to have situational awareness of what dynamic field conditions to ensure crew safety, enhance reliability, and improve the customer experience. ADMS addresses utility control room concerns of managing multiple systems simultaneously by providing the operator with a single fully integrated platform to perform daily activities and the additional benefits of enhanced decision support applications and analytics. Grid Modernization strategies will evolve based on the specific circumstances of each utility, but grid modernization technology roadmaps are including an ADMS as the cornerstone of their implementation plans.

Want to learn more about GridBright’s ADMS and other Grid Modernization strategies, planning, and support offerings?  We assist utilities in achieving business objectives through a unique blend of industry expertise, innovative focus, business strategy, thought leadership, and industry recognized methodologies. For more information contact us at

Terry Nielsen, GridBright EVP of Utility Solutions

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ADMS is the Cornerstone of Grid Modernization

by Terry Nielsen