- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
After a test phase Enedis, a subsidiary of the French energy company EDF, has opted for intelligent keys which uses contactless induction for access.
The firm supplies electricity to consumer meters, through extremely high-voltage lines, located at its many substations. Deployment across 1,100 substations will take place throughout 2019.
Substations take the power from very high-voltage lines (90,000 V or 225,000 V) to high-voltage (20,000 V most often) and through to private homes (230V). Some sites may be in urban settings. In this case, the substations are installed in underground infrastructure, as in Paris and its inner suburbs. But most are found in rural or semi-urban areas, covering a half or full hectare. The construction principles for this type of structure require open spaces to keep people and equipment safe.
With perimeter security accessible through an outside gate, substations comprise a technical room and a number of transformers, which may be outside or under shelter. These facilities have many access points which must be secured. Key management can be complex and operational efficiency is reduced.
Substations have strictly controlled access. Given the exposure to electrical risk, intrusions can killy. This is where the LOCKEN product comes in: a single key with associated rights allows employees to open any area they require (and are authorised to access) as part of their job. A lost key is disabled within the centralised management software.
The solution is particularly appropriate given the number of maintenance officers required by substations. Users are not all Enedis employees, says Maxime Leboeuf, Project Manager at Enedis.
Leboeuf says: “Although site workers are mostly Enedis employees, the sites must also be accessible to subcontractors for extension and renewal work and a number of maintenance operations, by employees of RTE, the electricity transmission system operator responsible for the very high-voltage lines which end at substations. Electronic access management drastically reduces the risk of intrusion associated with mechanical keys. With the Locken system, we can now authorise subcontractor access for a specified period and location. In the Enedis setup, the access rights memorised by the electronic keys must be updated daily by the key’s user using the dedicated devices. Keys are deactivated almost immediately once the process is initiated in the Locken Smart Access (LSA) central management software. This also provides a reliable crisis management tool.”
At Enedis, LOCKEN has fitted outdoor access points in often rural areas. The key supplies the energy to open the cylinder so no wires are needed for doors. The cylinder is approved to resist extreme weather, especially the effects of water, the product firm adds. Contactless technology also shields it from dust and oxidation.
Enedis is considering extending electronic key use to the most sensitive parts of its substations’ technical rooms, such as control and command rooms. Enedis also plans to replace all substation cylinders to minimise the risks associated with joint activity, meaning a number of operations carried out by engineers can take place at the same time at the same substation.