Continuing the deep dive into GIS based power distribution reforms, this post addresses two main challenges that GIS based technology intervention can help the power distribution utilities in.
The primary challenge that a utility operator faces while kicking off the operations is related to the quality of legacy data that is handed over to him. From the experience till now, a lot is left to be desired on completeness as well as accuracy of the data. Further, one of the processes which are at the core for better service standards is that of asset maintenance.
To address the challenge of data, most of the utilities are seen scouring for data as their first step towards streamlining its operations. These data sets are collected by deploying multiple agencies based on the nature and category of the data that is to be collected.
For e.g. customer data in the CRM system is verified using the standard customer indexing process. This needs large on-field teams and substantial effort. Similarly, the process of on-field inspection and their traceability that is typically paper based creates gap in the overall asset maintenance as a function. Rightly tracking these field notes could go a long way in building a more reliable distribution function.
A GIS based data system allows one to classify data into layers along with validations at the time of data creation/population. This ensures that only high quality data makes it into the system. With the advancements in GIS application APIs, multi-sourcing of the data has become much easier with GIS systems. Built in analytics in a GIS application allows the users to also perform quick checks on the data quality and analyse the geospatial trends in the same.The GIS interfaces can integrate Network Management, GIS and Billing Systems by sharing common network model. This also allows data to flow seamlessly between important systems. Thus, using GIS and the Intelligent Network Model it houses can also truly enhance the value of Network Management/OSS systems .
One of the other applications of a GIS system is the automation and process improvement of on-field maintenance activities. Advanced GIS systems offer ability to create a base map and then split the map into tiles to be downloaded into smart devices/handhelds of field teams, along with the maintenance requests in geographical boundaries encompassed within the tile.
This ability not only provides clear accountability, but allows tracking of workforce efficiency as well as identification of trends in maintenance schedules. A web-based application can manage the resultant corrective actions for the departments as well as incorporate the information into the System. Resourcing can be planned as per individual tasks, or tasks can be assigned in bulk based on territories. Corrective actions based on service areas can be tracked by supervisory track. Correction tickets can be printed with an included map provided by the same ArcGIS for Server service that the tablets use. Each assignment is tracked, and additional notes can be added at any point. Finally, each department can separately resolve its own issues without affecting the other.
By handling these core issues, a GIS system thus improves not just the input that goes in the system but also provides last mile support to ensure the service levels are maintained. These and other benefits are only scratches on the surface of the service improvement initiatives, GIS System implementation can help utility operators.