An Innovative Approach to GIS Database Maintenance

Data maintenance is not new. Spatial data had to be maintained when it was stored on mylar in flat files. Data management and products have changed dramatically as manual spatial data have evolved into digital data. It is much faster and easier to update a screen image than it is to redraw an entire paper map. Ironically, this very fact may be part of the problem. It is so easy that it is tempting to assign maintenance to a technician with little or no training and to apply few guidelines or sta

Telecommunications Strategy in the Face of Competition

The Telecommunications Act along with recent electric utility legislation is forcing many utilities to look at the way they have done business in the past and re-evaluate what tactics they need to employ to become more competitive in the future. As business requirements shift from operational considerations to customer service, brand loyalty and new revenue sources, the strategic use of telecommunications will play a key role in a utility`s ability to remain competitive in the long term. In a re

Digital Connectivity and the Water Industry

The face of the AMR industry is changing with the entrance of network communication providers. These telecommunications experts bring their two-way network expertise to the traditional, one-way network world of utilities. For water utilities, in particular, two obstacles impede their success. The first obstacle is the physical location of most water meters, and the second is the method of connection to the network. Once solved, water utilities will garner the many benefits that network communica

Operator Training System Moves Toward Virtual Reality

In its search for excellence, Hydro-Quebec mandated a group of operations personnel to make recommendations to meet the corporate objectives on quality customer service. The first step taken by that team was to analyze the incidents reports to extract the reasons for each incident. Then by grouping these reasons by categories, the team was able to highlight the main factors at the root of the reported incidents. Table 1 illustrates the findings of the incident reports.

Applications and Benefits of Real-Time Energy Measurement

The Gas Research Institute`s (GRI) support of research, conducted to develop a low-cost technology for measuring gas energy, promises to address an industry need resulting from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) guidelines. The regulations require charges to be based on the therm value of the commodity. Consequently, having the ability to accurately measure, at a low cost, the energy content of natural gas at the point of delivery will provide a level of confidence previously unavailabl

Data Management System Comes from MARS

Regulatory agencies and the organizations they regulate (permittees) often sit on opposite sides of the table. However, in the development of a data management system to administer monitoring programs and establish a big-picture approach to water quality management, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) and several of its major permittees improved mutual understanding while creating the monitoring and reporting system (MARS).

Increase AMR Benefits with Outage and Power-Quality Reporting

Most of us are familiar with the costs and problems associated with manual meter reading. We`ve also heard the promises and proposed benefits of AMR. Utilities report average manual reading costs varying from $6 to $20 per year, per meter. These estimates are primarily based on the direct cost of paying meter readers to walk or drive around. Significant additional expenses such as worker`s compensation claims and legal expenses have also been well documented. Although most utilities have a varie

Swiss Utility Centralizes Resources and Builds an ATM Network

As utilities worldwide struggle to improve services while containing costs, networking technology becomes increasingly important. The flexibility to support emerging applications must be balanced with the costs of upgrading network infrastructures. Utilities are faced with tradeoffs between supporting immediate business applications and building infrastructures that will support long-term business requirements.

Yugoslavia Develops a New Distribution Management System

Elektrovojvodina, the largest power distribution company in Serbia and Yugoslavia, delivers 7,000 GWh of electric energy per year to 800,000 consumers. The market economy, cost pressures and increased customer demands require the company to increase efficiency and automate network operations.

Utilities on the Internet

With the introduction of legislation by Sen. J. Bennett Johnston proposing to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require all states to implement retail wheeling by 2010, new communication channels not yet grasped by this typically conservative industry will be necessary to sustain competitiveness. Information exchange with customers and employees never had the urgency as it does now.