The transmission system operation is even-aged with the electricity system, as the uninterrupted operation needs an operator organisation, which can supervise the whole system. More than 100 years ago, at the beginning of electricity supply, the individual producers supplied electricity to the nearby consumers. It was a fairly expensive method, because every power plant had to separately ensure reserves for the case of maintenance and disturbance, practically every power plant needed another one.
The strandardisation of the network frequency and voltages created an opportunity for a big step forward: the separately working supply areas could have been connected to a joint system.
We can call the date of 23 November, 1949 surely historical, the day when Eastern and Western distribution areas of Hungary were in parallel connected through the cable network of the capital, Budapest. The synchronous interconnection of power plants in Bánhida, Tatabánya, Kelenföld, Ajka, Mátra, Salgótarján, Diósgyőr, Dorog, Kesznyéten, Kazincbarcika and Újpest opened a new chapter in our history of electricity: the Hungarian electricity system started its operation under a central transmission operation. The operation was managed by the National Dispatching Centre (Országos Villamos Teherelosztó – OVT). Since the hourly measures of consumer demands in the still independently working supply areas had been started a few month before, it was possible, after the connection, to compile hourly schedule for the power plants. The only exception was Kelenföld power plant, which did not produce under a schedule. Its special function was to ensure the frequency on a stable level.
At the beginning, the newly established National Dispatching Centre was operating in and with the technical equipment of the dispatching centre of Budapest Capital Electric Works in Váci street, which was commissioned at early 1940s.
The connected network has developed fast. New lines were built successively, but power plant construction was not able to keep up with it. The consumption, however, was growing so swift that it was necessary to build one, later several international lines. The first one, in 1952, connected Kisigmánd with the Czechoslovakian Nové Zámky.
In 1953, also the Dispatching Centre grew the Electric Works out and moved to Úri street, into the cellar system of Buda Castle. The then authorities wanted to know the strategically important central transmission system operation in an absolute protected place, therefore the institution was moved where the gold reserves of the Hungarian National Bank had earlier been guarded. A state-of-art technology was working in the multi-storied depth. The data of power and voltage measures were continuously arriving from the power plants and consumer substations and a scheme covering the whole wall indicated the state of the network.
The services of the Hungarian Dispatching Centre specialised in different tasks. The service for operation planning designed the operation of the grid and power plants for the next day, the dispatcher service managed the continuous supervision and control of the operation. The telecommunication service ensured the necessary remote measures, remote signals and phone connections.
The equipment of the Dispatching Centre were continuously upgraded to keep up with requirements imposed by the fast-speed developing electricity system. In spite of this, in 1970s it became evident that the “generation change” was inevitable also in the transmission system operation, i.e. the introduction of the computer technology. In parallel with the considerable improvement, the Dispatching Centre moved, in 1978, from the castle cellar system into a new building of Petermann bíró street, which was shaped according to its demands. The computer commissioned here was the most up-to-date not only in CDO allying the Central-European electricity systems, but all over the world. The HIDIC 80 type process control system significantly facilitated the work of operation planning and the dispatchers. Huge quantity data could be embraced on its screens that helped the economical dispatch of load between the power plants and supervision of the operation of the network.
Still in the same year and first in Europe, the 750 kV line connecting the Hungarian and Soviet power systems was realised that itself was able to ensure one third of the consumption of the country. This and the commission of the four blocks, 440 MW each, of Paks Nuclear Power Plant could ensure to cover the continuously rising consumption. For a while, there has been no need for considerable investments in the Dispatching Centre, but the well-skilled staff continuously upgraded in-house the process control computer system and extended its capacity. This computer, however, had still the ability to serve the requirements of Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity, UCTE, affiliated by Hungary in 1995, the modernisation of the entire operation control system was already ongoing. The project called “ÜRIK”, completed in 2001, included not only the computerised equipment of the Dispatching Centre, but also the data transmission equipment, data collecting and data processing systems in the substations.
As the part of the preparation for liberalisation of electricity trade, Hungarian Power Companies Ltd. (Magyar Villamos Művek Rt.) established on 19 October, 2000, Magyar Villamosenergia-ipari Rendszerirányító Részvénytársaság (Hungarian Power System Operator Company), MAVIR Rt. Taking over the functions and equipment of National Dispatching Centre, MAVIR Rt. fulfilled the transmission system operation activity under the commission of the transmission licence holder, Magyar Villamos Művek Rt.
As from 1st January, 2003, MAVIR Rt. is the independent licence holder of transmission system operation and earlier functions (network and power plant operation) were extended considerably by the legal regulations. MAVIR Rt. is responsible for the operation safety of the electricity system and shall have the necessary reserves for regulation of the system and disposes of the cross border lines and network capacities. Its functions are remunerated in compliance with the Commercial Code, Business Code, Electricity Act and the resulting executive orders. Its owner is the Hungarian state, the ownership rights are exercised by the Ministry of Economics and Transport. As an organisation independent of other players in the electricity system is liable for the safe electricity supply.