Software from Autodesk, Inc. is helping the Public Service Co. of New Mexico provide reliable electric service to the citizens of New Mexico. PNM relies on the 3D capabilities of AutoCAD software and custom applications built on AutoCAD to update and retrofit existing power infrastructure, and create 3D visualizations to educate the community about upcoming projects.
PNM is the largest investor-owned electric utility in New Mexico and serves 498,700 customers across the state. PNM has been supplying power to the Southwest since 1917 and currently serves over 3,635 square miles, and maintains 14,950 circuit miles of electric distribution lines, 21,000 circuit miles of transmission lines. Because of the vast size and consistent growth of PNM’s network, engineers are consistently adding new, and upgrading existing infrastructure.
“The type of engineering we do is very complicated and specific. To do that work efficiently and accurately, we need a design tool that enables us to work in 3D, while also being flexible and customizable,” said Gathen Garcia, technical systems manager, PNM. “We have used AutoCAD since 1982, and we have created several applications on top of it that enable us to work smarter and faster, while letting our engineers focus on the design process.”
PNM has developed an application specific to the electric utilities industry, 3D-DASL.This purpose-built application builds on existing AutoCAD 3D capabilities and adds customized standards for substations and switch stations so that PNM engineers can focus more on the design process, and less on mundane details. With 3D-DASL, engineers can update legacy drawings using the 3D capabilities of AutoCAD to give construction crews a clearer picture of the new design in relation to the existing structure. Since engineers are adding to an existing design, there is no need to re-create the project in 3D, improving efficiencies — time and money — for PNM and construction crews.
In all PNM projects, stakeholder engagement and education are crucial. In creating photorealistic visualizations based on the 3D AutoCAD designs, PNM is able to clearly explain proposals, gain public support and educate government officials, which speeds up the permitting process.