Key Concepts for Utilities: DA and ADMS


Everything you need to know to understand, implement and make the business case for distribution automation and advanced distribution management systems at your utility

Instructors: Robert Uluski, Stipe Fustar, Ph.D.

Subjects: Utilities: Electrical Distribution, Utilities: ADMS

Length: 6 weeks


Developed In Partnership With DISTRIBUTECH and POWERGRID International

Spend six weeks working with Robert Uluski, one of the thought leaders in the energy and infrastructure industries. This is a professional development opportunity for executives and team leaders. The goal is to make in-depth professional development opportunities available year-round for utility leaders.

In addition to technical training on Distribution Automation (DA) and Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS), you'll also learn about integrating Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Continuing Education Credits

This course may qualify for AEE continuing education and may be accepted for other certifications as well. Supporting documentation can be provided upon request for your particular submission.

Self Paced Online Course

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. Get access to all of the course materials as soon as you enroll. The instructor-led session will begin on the scheduled start date. During the session dates the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After the instructor-led session ends, you'll continue to have access to all of the course materials for a full year and can complete the course at your own pace.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after the session end date. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.

Earn A Certificate of Completion

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.


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Robert Uluski

Executive Consultant, ESTA International

Bob Uluski has over 40 years of experience in electric utility Transmission and Distribution (T&D) automation systems. His experience includes planning and implementing energy storage, microgrid control systems, advanced distribution management systems (DMS), feeder automation systems, substation automation, protective relay systems, and distributed resource energy...[more]

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Stipe Fustar, Ph.D.

Executive Consultant, ESTA International

Dr. Stipe Fustar has over 35 years of experience in the electric utility industry including consulting, project/team management, system design and development, data modeling, IT architecture design, Web development, enterprise integration, and business process automation (BPA). He has a wide understanding of all aspects of the electric utility industry with special...[more]

Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. The course discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. The instructor-led session runs for the posted dates and you will receive weekly emails to keep you on pace. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after the session ends. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Week 1 - Distribution Substation and Feeder SCADA

Discussion of important characteristics of electric distribution field devices (in substations, on feeders, at customer locations (behind the meter) that are monitored and controlled by DA/ADMS; this includes transformers, voltage regulators, switched capacitor banks, switchgear on substations and out on feeders, distributed energy resources (energy storage, distributed generators, controllable loads (demand response), electric vehicle chargers); focus on what role each of these devices plays in DA/ADMS (use cases for each device), edge of network devices.

Week 2 - Key Concepts of Distribution Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

Discuss purpose and functionality of SCADA devices in substations and out on the feeders, identify and discuss important characteristics of RTUs/data concentrators/feeder RTUs, local area networks, merging units, transducers, Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), distributed sensors, and other SCADA building blocks – discuss important communication protocols and standards (DNP3, IEC 61850), challenges and issues (use by transmission and distribution operations, security, etc.); unique challenges of feeder automation (communication media and architecture).

Week 3 - Distribution Feeder Automation

Introduction to distribution feeder automation – decentralized distribution monitoring and control schemes – common feeder automation schemes for FLISR and volt VAR optimization – how they work – benefits obtained – general architectures (approaches used) (substation centered, fully distributed, centralized schemes - components used by Feeder automation schemes – lessons learned, challenges to consider.

Week 4 - Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS)

Centralized distribution system application functions – key characteristics of ADMS functions (model driven, forward looking predictive) – discuss major distribution application functions running on ADMS (load flow, FLISR, VVO, etc.) – how they work/design considerations – Outage management functions – DER monitoring and control plus DERMS.

Week 5 - IT Considerations

Architecture, system integration, security topics – discuss important ADMS implementation characteristics such as architecture, system integration and security objectives and challenges from OT/IT perspectives. This includes but is not limited to ADMS architecture vision, solution level architecture, configuration, environments and interoperability (approaches used, integration patterns, microservices, integration platforms) considering best industry practices, industry standards (IEC CIM, MultiSpeak) and the latest technology trends (multi-cloud/hybrid computing, Artificial Intelligence impact).

Week 6 - Project Implementation

Implementing, planning, needs analysis, conceptual architecture, implementation strategy (e.g., phased implementation, major activities, design, testing, training, etc.), developing the business case (total cost of ownership, identifying and evaluating monetary and strategic benefits, analysis of revenue requirements); Procurement strategy (developing procurement specifications, vendor RFI, soliciting bids, bid evaluation, statement of work, implementation activities).

After The Course - Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials for 12 months after the session ends. Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership.

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)

Free Courses on Utilities, Electrical Distribution, ADMS

Large Scale Solutions to Energy Storage

Jay has interviewed over 70 guests across all energy sectors. This course includes a 30 minute lecture on large scale solutions to energy storage along with the 12 Energy Cast energy storage episodes referenced in the lecture.

Introduction to DA/ADMS

Role of distribution automation in electric utility grid modernization efforts; Key definitions pertaining to DA/ADMS, basic building blocks of DA and ADMS; benefits of DA/ADMS for meeting distribution utility business needs; major challenges of DA/ADMS i

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