The supply of water, heating, cooling and drainage for more than a million citizens and companies in Copenhagen is now more secure thanks to a comprehensive OnGuard security system at Greater Copenhagen Utility.

Comprehensive security

The huge security system at Greater Copenhagen Utility covers hundreds of site installations. The solution is based on OnGuard, an integrated security management system from Lenel, which is the central security platform at Greater Copenhagen Utility. The increased security threat requires constant focus on possibilities for improving security. Petersen-Bach A/S and Greater Copenhagen Utility are working together on an on-going basis to create optimal security solutions for the entire facility network.

Originally, a large electrical contractor was responsible for all work on the OnGuard system at Greater Copenhagen Utility, but today Petersen-Bach A/S has customer responsibility. For one thing, this is due to Petersen-Bach’s expertise in OnGuard, which is one of the company’s strategic product offerings. Petersen-Bach A/S also has a lot of experience in co-ordinating various IT systems, and has supplied programming and maintenance for Greater Copenhagen Utility’s very comprehensive and advanced security system since 2008.

The system has 140 IP-based video surveillance cameras, which are controlled and recorded by a total of seven servers using OnGuard video surveillance software. The central platform is processed by two powerful IBM servers, which use automatic failover to ensure redundant and stable operation of the system. Linked to the platform are 11 surveillance PCs and 115 intelligent system controllers, which handle Greater Copenhagen Utility’s more than 300 card readers, the 7500 I/O points, and approx. 1500 mobile GPRS connections that make up most of the security system.

Reliable transfer of data

The utility company started installing surveillance equipment on its water wells in 2008, and today not only abstraction wells, but also well covers and transmission pipes are monitored.

Data is transmitted from every single well cover via GPRS over the mobile net in a telemetrically secure net to a central server at Greater Copenhagen Utility. In the event of an unauthorised intrusion, an alarm quickly reaches the OnGuard system at Greater Copenhagen Utility, where everything is monitored 24/7, which enables an immediate response.

Many of the wells are in out-of-the-way places in fields and forests where it has been difficult to carry out surveillance. The new GPRS-based system, however, provides the flexibility and reliability required for secure monitoring.

Petersen-Bach A/S organised the development of an application that uses OnGuard’s open DataConduIT API to bring alarms to the security system in real-time from the server that receives data from the wells. This allows the security system to make practical and elegant use of the well surveillance to monitor for unauthorised intrusion. “The alternative would have been to set up a parallel system just for well surveillance. This way, we get the same functionality and save money”, says Jens PR Sørensen, who is in charge of the security system at Greater Copenhagen Utility.

A user-friendly and flexible system

In addition to its security requirements, Greater Copenhagen Utility also wanted the surveillance system to be user-friendly. For example, when a well needs inspection, the employee can use his/her company ID card to release a system key. The key is electronically monitored/administered and enables the employee to disconnect alarms from the well cover. After the inspection, the alarm system is reconnected via a card reader with a keypad. The simplicity is an advantage for the employees and also helps increase the level of security, concludes Jens PR Sørensen.

A check on all system keys is made every 24 hours, which gives a very high level of security against lost keys. This way of administering system keys has also been implemented using OnGuard.

The buildings at water installations are often rather dark since, for security reasons, they do not have windows. The ID card used to enter a building also switches on the light via the Lenel system, and switches it off again when the building is exited. There is focus on saving energy in the large utility company and the many functions of OnGuard are used for energy-saving initiatives.

In administration buildings there are displays that show the status of the individual sections of a given area. This gives employees a simple and functional tool for easily checking that everything is in order. The display also gives a quick overview of any faults or alarm situations in the event of irregularities.

There are plans for the further automation of the security system by integrating it with Greater Copenhagen Utility’s HR database. The idea is that employees will only need to be registered in one system with changes being automatically transferred to the company’s other systems. New employees will then only need to be registered in the HR database for the data to be automatically reproduced in the security system’s database. The basic access levels for employee ID cards will also come from the HR system, and termination of employment would automatically deactivate the employee’s ID card.

Another project in the pipeline is to use employees’ ordinary ID cards to control log-in on Greater Copenhagen Utility’s PCs. The idea is that the cards be used for single-sign-on via a card reader in the employee’s PC whereby the employee is logged in after keying in a password and automatically logged out as soon as the card is removed.

The open network-based OnGuard security platform at Greater Copenhagen Utility makes it both possible and simple to implement these new types of function.

Extended security system

In addition to surveillance of their water wells, Greater Copenhagen Utility has also set up video surveillance of many of the company’s premises. Video input from the 140 cameras is monitored and stored on the OnGuard video servers at the utility company’s control centre.

The IP-based video surveillance is constantly being upgraded and extended as part of the general safeguarding of the company’s activities. Extremely light-sensitive day/night cameras from Samsung are used to a considerable extent. The cameras are linked with other events in the system, so that Greater Copenhagen Utility can easily see pictures from an alarm or other event and take rapid action.

The OnGuard system is in general use for access control at pumping stations, waterworks, control buildings, heating tunnels, etc. via HID MultiCLASS card readers. The access control system reads employee cards via NEDAP Transit long-distance readers at selected places and automatically opens the gate when an employee with authorised access approaches – a solution that combines security with convenience.

In many places, the card readers are set up so that the key pad light is kept switched off until a card is presented to the reader. This saves electricity and the reader does not attract unwelcome attention by shining out when it is dark.

The OnGuard system also controls access to Greater Copenhagen Utility’s new district heating tunnel. This part of the system is set up so that an ID card must be used both to enter and to exit the tunnel. This gives the energy company full control over how many employees are in the tunnel, which can be vital, for example, in evacuation situations. The HID MultiCLASS card readers that Greater Copenhagen Utility uses make it possible for other companies to use their own ID cards to gain access, instead of Greater Copenhagen Utility having to issue extra cards for them. The readers support several different types of card, including Prox, iCLASS and Mifare, so that cards other than Greater Copenhagen Utility’s own can also be used in the system, provided only that they are given administrative access.

Greater Copenhagen Utility specifically chose the OnGuard system because it offers the greatest flexibility with regard to programming and the range of components in comparison with competing solutions.

Facts about Greater Copenhagen Utility

Greater Copenhagen Utility is owned by the City of Copenhagen and has a total of 700 employees in the fields of water supply, district heating, gas supply, cooling and drainage. Greater Copenhagen Utility also used to supply electricity to homes and companies in the capital area, but decided to sell that part of the business to DONG Energy in 2006.

Greater Copenhagen Utility has seven waterworks in Zealand, which together supply approx. 150 million litres of pure drinking water from more than 500 abstraction wells and 400 observation wells via 250 kilometres of transmission pipes.

Water supplies to Copenhagen come from seven different waterworks in Zealand

One of Greater Copenhagen Utility’s newest areas is “reverse district heating” in the form of cooling for office buildings, etc. in central Copenhagen. The cooling is carried out by using seawater, which saves large amounts of electricity and makes an important contribution to reducing the emission of CO2 and dangerous particles.

The utility company has an annual turnover of approx. DKK 4,400m. About a million inhabitants depend on Greater Copenhagen Utility for a stable supply of heating, drainage, gas and water.

Facts about Petersen-Bach A/S

Petersen-Bach A/S is a Danish-owned company that has been involved in security and surveillance, including access control, burglary alarm systems and video monitoring since 1979. Petersen-Bach A/S also offers complete solutions for asset protection. Today, the company has 65 employees and is among the largest and leading system integrators in Denmark. Customers include some of Denmark’s most prominent companies and institutions.

From its headquarters in Allerød and a local branch in Bjerringbro, Petersen-Bach A/S designs, installs and maintains modern security systems across the whole Danish market. The company is also represented in Germany with a local branch in Stuttgart.

Petersen-Bach A/S specialises in network-based and integrated security solutions.

Facts about Lenel Systems International

Lenel Systems International is a leading provider of software and turnkey security systems for corporate and government markets. Lenel focuses on developing products that enable organizations to effectively protect and manage their people, property and assets by maximizing IT and infrastructure investments.

Lenel’s flagship security platform, OnGuard®, seamlessly integrates a full suite of security management functions and technologies using an open architecture design. OnGuard offers access control, ID credential issuance and management, alarm monitoring, digital video surveillance and management, real-time digital video content analysis, intelligent audio, integration of biometric technologies, intrusion detection, visitor management and smart card functionality, plus integration with a multitude of third party systems. Individual applications are available as standalone systems, or can be deployed in any combination to deliver a single integrated solution that uniquely satisfies each customer’s particular needs. OnGuard systems offer unlimited scalability and localization support for major world languages.

With nearly 18.000 system installations in more than 90 countries worldwide, Lenel boasts a blue chip customer base with a strong presence in a broad range of vertical markets. The company has earned numerous awards for technology innovation, growth, market leadership and customer satisfaction. Lenel, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. with sales and support coverage in all major world markets, is part of UTC Fire & Security, a business unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).


To provide innovative and superior solutions that enable organizations to protect their people, operations and information.