Leveraging Sun-Net iTOA Switching Order Management Module for Enhanced Operational Performance, Safety and Reliability

As safety and reliability remain critical concerns for the power grid, Sun-Net’s integrated Tools for Operations Application (iTOA) software provides a comprehensive solution. This white paper delves into the manner in which the Switching Order Management Module of the iTOA software addresses key concerns surrounding operational switching, particularly focusing on the documentation and communication of switching and clearance procedures to optimize safety and continuity of service.


Operational switching, tagging, permit management are critical components of power grid management. They present unique challenges relating to safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance. As an answer to these challenges, Sun-Net’s iTOA software, particularly its Switching Order Management Module, provides a robust solution by prioritizing clear documentation and effective communication of switching procedures.

Implementing Best Practices through iTOA Software

The Switching Order Management Module of iTOA software incorporates utility industry’s switching safety and reliability best practices to enhance the safety and reliability of switching operations. These practices cover a wide range of topics, from improved procedure documentation, tracking training and qualifications of switching personnel to risk assessment and incident investigation.
Addressing the Need for Improved Documentation

Recent studies have shown that while most utilities are satisfied with their existing procedures, there is considerable room for improvement in the documentation of switching and clearance activities. The Switching Order Management Module of iTOA software addresses this need by providing clear, step-by-step switching orders that reduce the possibility of human error and increase the understandability and ease of use of procedures.
Training and Qualifications of Switching Personnel

The iTOA software supports tracking and usage of proper training and qualification of switching personnel, a core recommendation of industry’s best practices. By ensuring that only properly trained and qualified personnel can create and execute switching orders, the module helps reduce the risk of errors.

Enhancing Communication of Procedures and Mitigating Risks

Communication between switching personnel and control room operators is crucial for safety and reliability. The Switching Order Management Module enables clear and concise communication, contributing to the safe execution of switching steps. Moreover, the module supports documenting risk assessments for switching plans, ensuring that potential issues are identified and mitigated in advance.

Procedures for Issuing and Verifying Switching Orders

Switching orders must be issued clearly and concisely, and the Switching Order Management Module ensures this by providing step-by-step guidance for creating orders. For example, iTOA software can be configured to require orders to be verified by two qualified individuals before execution, thereby reducing the chance of mistakes.

Incident Investigation and Reporting

In line with industry’s best practices, the Switching Order Management Module assists in the timely investigation and reporting of incidents via integration with iTOA Logging module. Detailed log entry records maintained by the software serve as a valuable resource during investigations, helping utilities identify root causes and improve their procedures.

Facilitating Knowledge Transfer and Error Avoidance

With many utilities facing high turnover of experienced personnel and increasing use of contractors unfamiliar with their cultures, the need for comprehensive and easily understandable documentation has never been more important. The iTOA software captures important practices that have often been part of the “tribal knowledge” of a utility, ensuring that this knowledge is not lost and contributes to safe, reliable power switching.

Compliance with Regulatory Changes

The Switching Order Management Module facilitates compliance with regulatory changes by maintaining detailed records of each switching operation. This not only provides a robust audit trail for regulatory purposes but also enables utilities to adapt quickly to regulatory changes by modifying switching procedures as necessary within the software.


By incorporating utility industry’s switching safety and reliability best practices, Sun-Net’s iTOA software, with its Switching Order Management Module, offers an effective solution to the challenges of operational switching. It improves safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance, helping utilities meet critical objectives in the dynamic energy landscape.