T&D World Magazine
Vegetation Management Calculator Estimates over $1 Billion in Savings for Utilities

Vegetation Management Calculator Estimates over $1 Billion in Savings for Utilities

By moving from human to digital inspections utilities in North America can conservatively save $1 billion, reduce risk of vegetation-related outages while improving efficiency, safety and enabling compliance

GeoDigital has partnered with The McDonnell Group to launch an online calculator that provides an estimate of the potential financial benefit of moving from human-based to digital-based patrol for vegetation inspection. Based on FERC data and a number of large utility business cases, the calculator estimates the efficiencies from precision inspection and prediction of vegetation growth. It models the potential savings in areas such as reduced vegetation management cost, more accurate and competitive contractor bids, and selective use of herbicide as part of the total vegetation management lifecycle. McDonnell Group used FERC data to extrapolate over $1 billion in potential savings for the North American utility industry.

"Despite significant investments by the utility industry in the past decade, every year millions of people across North America are impacted by preventable vegetation related outages. Precision analysis with digital tools can drive significant cost savings across utility vegetation management programs while reducing risk, improving safety and enhancing environmental benefits over traditional methods," said Chuck Anderson, GM of North American Utilities at GeoDigital. "GeoDigital is leading a paradigm shift in the industry with a unique big spatial data and insight solution that spans the vegetation management lifecycle. We are excited to launch this calculator to begin the dialogue within the industry about the potential this kind of business transformation holds."

The traditional methods of vegetation management requires human-based inspections – typically from low-slow flying helicopters and binoculars. GeoDigital's vegetation solution turns the process digital – starting with remote sensing technology that includes LiDAR and high definition imagery collected more regularly, safely and efficiently than traditional methods. Patented analytics are applied to evaluate and predict vegetation threats and location-based work management software is used to manage the work associated with the most imminent threats, or those which fall into the clearance area mandated by regulations such as FAC003-3.

Peter Manos, Principal Strategy Consultant at McDonnell Group who developed the calculator by using actual utility business case and FERC data said, "Third-party evaluations as well as internal utility ROI calculations have demonstrated the significant benefits for early adopters of these best practice vegetation approaches."

Utilities can try the simple online calculator at www.geodigital.com/calculator. While the calculator is intended to provide an orders of magnitude savings estimate, utilities can work with a GeoDigital consultant to customize the calculator results for unique operating conditions and corporate strategy.

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