Keeping the power running in Sudan

Lucy Switchgear
Sentinel ER450 digital outstation
Control of electrical distribution
Industry / Vertical:


Lucy Switchgear designs and delivers switching and protection solutions for electrical distribution systems globally. The company specialises in both ground and pole mounted medium voltage switchgear, with a purpose built facility in Thame, Oxfordshire, UK, and an additional manufacturing plant located in Dubai.


The National Electricity Corporation of Sudan (NEC) is a state-owned electricity company that supplies and distributes electricity to residents and businesses in Sudan, North Africa. Based in the Capital city of Khartoum, NEC has undertaken major electrical infrastructure upgrades over the next few years.

One of the projects involved improving the supply to tier one business customers and key sites such as Khartoum International airport and an oil research laboratory. Part of this upgrade included the introduction of remote monitoring and control systems on their secondary grid network, to minimise electrical outages and service interruption for customers connected to its 11kV distribution network.

Supplying and installing a range of its automation hardware on the NEC network, Lucy Switchgear ensured that in the advent of an electrical outage, the power would be automatically redirected to reduce disruption and maintain the electricity supply to its customers. To alert a central control hub to both the issue and the location of the outage, Lucy Switchgear required radio data communications to deliver real time updates over long distances.

Lucy Switchgear challenged Wood & Douglas to provide this wireless link and install more than 200 radio units over a period of five years.


Supporting both point-to-point and multi-point communication over UHF (Ultra High Frequency), Wood & Douglas deployed its Sentinel ER450 radio modems. With a line of sight and rapid transmit and receive turnaround times, these radio modems are able to relay the exact location of an outage swiftly to multiple central points across the grid, so the routing of the electricity supply can be diverted while repair and maintenance action is carried out.

With the ability to ‘store and forward’ date, the ER450 radio modems can extend the range beyond line of sight – ideal for long distance communications across the grid network.

With temperatures in Sudan reaching in excess of 42 degrees during the hot season and humidity hitting 87%, the robust radio unit not only had to withstand these extreme temperatures and conditions but also deliver a reliable ‘hands off’ operation to minimise maintenance in gruelling heat. Featuring remote diagnostics and a network management system, the ER450 delivers this ‘hands off’ with over the air monitoring and configuration of radios.

By reducing the power downtime during an outage and swiftly warning engineers of the location of the incident, NEC was able to minimise disruption while maintaining an efficient service to its customers and the supply of electricity to critical facilities.

  • Reliable, repaid and long range wireless radio link to alert central control hubs to the advent and location of outages on the electricity network for swift action
  • Robust radio unit designed to work in high temperature and humidity while low maintenance ‘hands off’ operation and remote diagnostics ensure successful on going performance

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