LOCKEN has been selected to modernise access management for half of all substations in Enedis’ national network. Following a test phase it has opted for the latest-generation intelligent key by Iseo, which uses contactless induction technology to guarantee instant access.
The EDF subsidiary supplies electricity to consumer meters, through extremely high-voltage lines, located at its many substations. The solution is currently being introduced and full deployment across 1,100 substations will take place throughout 2019.
Substations: an essential cog in the electrical energy distribution process
Substations transform 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 located in urban settings. In this case, the substations are installed in underground infrastructure, like 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 wide 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. Without an effective solution, key management is complex and operational efficiency is reduced.
Sites with heightened security needs
Substations are sensitive sites with strictly controlled access. Given the exposure to electrical risk, intrusions present potentially lethal consequences. This is where the LOCKEN solution 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 easily 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, explains Maxime Leboeuf, Project Manager at Enedis.
“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.”
The solution adapted to scattered site constraints
At Enedis, LOCKEN has fitted outdoor access points in often isolated, 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 conditions, especially the effects of water. Contactless technology also shields it from dust and oxidation.
Enedis is considering the possibility of extending electronic key use to the most sensitive parts of its technical rooms, especially access to control and command rooms, the nerve centres of the substations. Enedis also plans to replace all substation cylinders to minimise the risks associated with joint activity, meaning a number of operations carried out by different engineers can take place simultaneously at the same substation.