The benefits of keyless locking solutions for power utilities

Securing every phase of the power supply chain has been becoming more crucial than ever. Keyless locking solutions can bring various benefits to protect the power utilities.

With sustainable development, society is becoming more and more dependent on power and renewable energy. Securing every phase of the power supply chain has never been more crucial. However, the power industry is composed of a complex system with geographically diverse power stations and substations in rural locations, making it vulnerable to theft and vandalism. These incidents can lead to the interruption of power supply and severe loss of revenue. Moreover, when it comes to high- or medium-voltage equipment and cables, unauthorized entry can cause environmental damage and even fatal accidents.

While outsiders' access to places must be strictly limited, the passage of workers must be as quick and easy as possible. To protect flexibly against these threats, a cloud-based access management system is the perfect solution, not to mention the keyless entry solutions, which critical infrastructure utilities are adopting more and more instead of traditional mechanical systems. With simplified logistics and saving of costs and time, it provides the highest level of safety, control and operational efficiency for all aspects of the power industry, from generation to transmission and distribution.

Why should every power utility operator consider the possibilities of keyless locking? Let's look closer at the primary benefits of today's solutions.  

The convenience of mobile app access

Digitalization has created new possibilities for digital security and secure wireless technology. To meet our customers’ latest challenges, the constant development of our digital portfolio has led to a new, highly secure, digital key. Wherever you are, the mobile app allows flexible access and activation of user rights. With regard to the power industry, it is especially useful amidst remote areas, busy schedules and in case of emergency, online or offline. Travel and key logistics are drastically simplified, saving on emissions, costs and time.

Regulations and standards in the power industry

As the power industry is responsible for the production and distribution of one of the most critical assets of the entire economy, they must follow many strict security regulations and standards. For example, in the US, Electric utilities must comply with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards.

These standards require all electric utilities to have a physical security plan and program to monitor and manage physical access to protect critical infrastructure, cyber assets, and Bulk Electric System cyber systems. This includes, for example, maintaining records of entry – with time and date – for each individual with authorized access, unescorted access, or unauthorized access to physical access points. With a cloud-based access management system together with a keyless locking system, following these regulations and standards is especially simple.

Full protection against extreme conditions 

In addition to data security, keyless locking is also protected from weather and extreme conditions, which are familiar in decentralized power plants and substations in rural areas. With maximum resistance against physical attack and components protected against extreme heat or cold, storm-driven salt water or fine desert dust, complete functionality is ensured in all conditions. 

Full audit trail

To secure restricted areas with rapid and variable changes of users and access points, to ensure safety around high voltage equipment and power lines as well as to control access within widely spread property and operations, it is extremely important to ensure that only the right people go in and out. With the keyless locking solution, you can provide individual access rights and have an audit trail of all actions made in the area – remotely, regardless of time and place. 

One operating system for all mechanical, electromechanical and keyless solutions

In the diverse and large-scale operations that are commonplace in the power industry, it is more likely that there will be different levels of security and multiple locking and access control systems. However, having several independent systems that do not communicate with one another is a challenge from both an operative and a security-focused point of view.

With a comprehensive management system, all locks, keys, users and their individual access rights can be monitored through one visual management application. While offering safe and secure assets to users, it makes key and user management easy and flexible for the administrator from one single system. Daily operational efficiency can be increased, allowing you to integrate these solutions into your workflow or third-party systems even further.

How much would keyless locking increase efficiency, convenience and security in your operations? To learn more, take a closer look at ABLOY BEAT, our high-end Bluetooth padlock for critical infrastructure protection.

 

Dries Pepler
Vertical Market Manager, Utility & Telecom
ABLOY USA