Advancing Satellite Technology to Serve Remote Areas

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Cooperative Research Network (CRN) has funded a research initiative to advance adoption of a new generation of satellite technologies among its research members. Power System Engineering, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., was awarded the project and will work with select CRN members and interested satellite technology vendors to advance the technology to meet the electric cooperative's needs in the areas of distribution automation (monitoring and control), hard to access meter reading and customer contact, nationally and regionally dispersed customer accounts and retail access and settlement processes.

CRN is a research program funded exclusively on the needs of electric cooperatives.

SIGECOM Offers More Than Electricity SIGCORP, parent company of Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Co. (SIGECO) and based in Evansville, Indiana, U.S., has teamed with UtiliCom Networks to form SIGECOM, LLC. SIGECOM will provide telecommunication, entertainment and lifestyle services over a new two-way, high-capacity fiber optic network. ComSource, SIGCORP's Internet service provider, will soon become part of SIGECOM under the terms of the transaction.

SIGECOM's new interactive network will be able to provide data transfer at speeds significantly faster than the current offering. The network will allow SIGECOM to offer a wide range of services such as local and long distance telephone service, video conferencing, expanded cable television programming, and high-speed data and Internet services.

SIGECOM has selected Williams Communications, Inc. to deliver data, video, voice and Internet traffic to national and international points and provide equipment and integration services. Williams will also provide professional network design and engineering services for the project.

Name Change Reflects New Direction After more than 15 years as AM/FM International, the educational association advocating the benefits of AM/FM/GIS and related technologies has adopted a new name, market position and focus. The association's new name, the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), was unveiled at the opening session of the association's Annual Conference XXI, held April 26-29, 1998, in San Jose, California, U.S.

As a result of 18 months of market research and evaluation of the organization's strengths and opportunities, the association's board of directors not only chose a new name and logo, but also adopted a new market position and focus. The association will target infrastructure-based organizations that can benefit from the use of geospatialinformation technology. The six industries being targeted are electric utilities, gas utilities, telecommunications, water/wastewater utilities, public works, and oil and gas pipelines.

GITA's newly adopted mission is to provide excellence in education and information exchange on the use and benefits of geospatial information and technology in telecommunications, infrastructure and utility applications worldwide.

Getting Information Into the Right Hands Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD), Seattle, Washington, U.S., is deploying Intergraph's FieldView 2.0 and GeoMedia Web Map software to disseminate automated mapping/facilities management (AM/FM) information throughout the utility. The rollout will enable field personnel, customer service representatives and others throughout the organization to access up-to-date spatial information about the electric distribution system managed by Intergraph's AM/FM software, FRAMME.

Snohomish County PUD is using the GeoMedia Web Map product for an intranet application that lets customer service representatives access the graphic facility network model in FRAMME through a standard Web browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer. The utility is also using Fieldview 2.0 for two separate applications. In one application, customer service engineers will access facility and attribute data on laptop computers to create simple work sketches or use red-line capabilities. In a separate application, PUD personnel involved with maps and records, dispatch and engineering can access and view data online through the FRAMME database.

Advanced EMS to Support Power Pool The Power Pool of Alberta, Calgary, Canada, has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Bailey Network Management, a unit of Elsag Bailey Process Automation N.V., to design, implement and install a new energy management system. The system will establish a province-wide, real-time coordination center to support implementation of an independent system operator (ISO).

The new system will support integrated pool functionality and continuous data exchange with the pool's market trading system, transmission administrator, pool participants and all transmission owners through advanced ICCP data links. Bailey's RANGER baseline, open system product, including advanced network applications and communications software, will be used to execute the project on a phased delivery basis.

Dale McMaster, chief operations officer for the Power Pool, commented, "The successful implementation of the system coordination center project will complete Alberta's transition to a fully independent system controller within the Power Pool of Alberta. It also provides us with the opportunity to level the playing field in the marketplace and to exploit potential synergy within the electricity market systems, so as to ensure a fair, open and efficient market while maintaining safe, secure and reliable interconnected system operation."

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