PEPCO implements GIS system for outage management

Redlands, Calif., April 3, 2002 — ESRI announce the use of ESRI geographic information system (GIS) software for outage management at Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO).

The impetus behind GIS implementation was overcoming the challenges of harsh weather conditions, exemplified by the winter of 1999, when a catastrophic ice storm blanketed the Washington, D.C., area with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures shutting down roads and infrastructure.

PEPCO services approximately 720,000 customers in Washington, D.C., and in surrounding Maryland suburbs. As a result of a 1999 ice storm where some PEPCO customers were without power for five days, outage management-restoring power and locating failed portions of the electric grid-became an overriding concern to the utility company.

The ice storm triggered a review of a number of processes at PEPCO including the use of computer-aided design (CAD) and GIS and the need for a more robust IT infrastructure capable of handling the great amount of change that PEPCO and its electric utility neighbors in the mid-Atlantic area were undergoing.

“PEPCO is an example of how organizations can leverage geography and geographic thinking to integrate, analyze, and visualize information throughout its operations,” says Jeff Douglass, utility account manager, ESRI. “PEPCO can better serve its customers in outage management, customer service, facilities management, and more. Automating how it utilizes information spurs faster and more efficient operations and better response to emergencies such as downed service. This is especially important in the increasingly competitive market of deregulation.”

“This acquisition and the creation of an advanced GIS solution first and foremost meets our outage management needs and helps us better serve customers when weather takes its toll and downs services,” says Akhlesh Kaushiva, P.E., manager of information technology (IT) projects. “ESRI’s technology, extensive user community, and business relationships provide an array of resources for us now and into the future. This helps us with our number-one priority to provide the best customer service possible.”

Under the leadership of Kaushiva, PEPCO began an aggressive campaign that included the three following projects:

* Migrate from CAD-based drawings to a GIS.
* Initiate an outage management solution.
* Provide a mobile dispatch service for the field crews.
PEPCO chose ESRI software for the GIS platform. The initial scope of work for the migration of CAD drawings to a GIS was to first focus on the primary feeder plats. The remaining secondary plats will be migrated from CAD in a second phase. The GIS is built on ArcInfo 8.1, ArcSDE, and Oracle 8i. The PEPCO GIS project team, which consists of members from various departments including operations, planning, field services, and customer services, is working diligently to migrate the corporate CAD data to GIS data.

Part of the key to success for the project is well-trained GIS people, much front-end work, and effective data modeling. ESRI partner InfoTech Enterprises, based in Alexandria, Virginia, participated in the development of the data model and is migrating the data from CAD to GIS. Another ESRI partner, the Louis Berger Group, developed quality control (QC) programs to facilitate the migration process.

PEPCO is integrating ESRI GIS solutions with the outage management system from Configured Energy Systems, Inc. (CES), and a mobile solution from Axiom Inc. This GIS implementation will give PEPCO additional capabilities to respond to future outages, weather related or otherwise.

About ESRI
For more than 30 years, ESRI has been the developer of GIS software with more than 300,000 clients worldwide. ESRI also provides consulting, implementation, and technical support services. In addition to its headquarters in California, ESRI has regional offices throughout the United States, international distributors in more than 90 countries, and more than 1,300 business partners. ESRI’s goal is to provide users with comprehensive tools to help them quickly and efficiently manage and use geographic information to make a real difference in the world around them. ESRI can be found on the Web at

PEPCO is an investor-owned company that delivers electricity to more than 700,000 customers in Washington, D.C., and the Maryland suburbs. Through its family of subsidiaries, PEPCO also operates in the competitive arena of telecommunications and energy products and services in the mid-Atlantic region. For more information visit the company’s Web site at

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