T&D World Magazine

Minnesota Utility Benefits from GIS-Based Outage Management System

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), a division of the City of Rochester, Minnesota, has gone into production with Responder, Miner & Miner, a Telvent company’s outage management system (OMS). The new OMS solution will allow the utility to better serve its more than 46,000 electric customers through efficient response to service interruptions.

RPU has been a long-time user of Miner & Miner’s ArcFM Solution suite of applications, running ArcFM to support facilities management for six years and Designer, which provides graphic work design, since January 2005. An integrated GIS workflow has afforded RPU the ability to efficiently manage assets, create designs, and streamline business processes. With the addition of Responder, RPU will take additional advantage of GIS functionality by leveraging the asset data immediately for outages.

Responder provides crucial information for accurate decision-making, both for storm restoration and daily operations. Prior to the OMS implementation, RPU recorded outages manually, so they sought an automated system with the ability to track outages in real time, to rollup outages to a probable outage device, and to improve overall reporting. Now, system operators will have access to a user-friendly interface and intuitive menus to quickly and efficiently dispatch crews based on geographical and tabular data. Marketing and customer service representatives will also access the system to gain updated outage information and accurately relay it to the public without having to interrupt the system operators.

The project, managed primarily by in-house administrators and supported by M&M’s project team, began in October 2005 and took less than three months to rollout into full production with an out-of-the-box implementation.

“The relatively simple setup and process-intuitive GUI interface made switching to Responder and training the users quick and easy,” said Greg Rowley, RPU’s GIS Specialist.

Six operators currently use Responder, but their system supports a potential for 18 call takers during a crisis. RPU is now evaluating ways to further leverage the capabilities and benefits of Responder to continue to improve its outage management process.

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