T&D World Magazine

Florida Utility Selects Specialized Software To Improve Joint-Use Operations

Florida-based Gulf Power has purchased the FastGate Manager for Joint Use software package developed for the utility market by Osmose Utilities Services, Inc. FastGate Manager for Joint Use is designed to help electric and telecommunications utilities of all sizes manage their joint-use programs, and to make foreign attachment and streetlight data easy to gather, verify, manage, and maintain.

Gulf Power will use FastGate Manager for Joint Use to help coordinate processes that are central to the utility’s joint use initiative. The application provides a data-collection and data-tracking structure that organizes the attachment request process and that will help Gulf Power collect, verify, and maintain joint use and streetlight information. The application will help the Joint Use Department document existing attachments and reconcile discrepancies with attachers. It will also help organize the attachment request, approval, make-ready, and post-inspection activities in Gulf Power’s service territory.

Gulf Power, owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company, supplies electricity to approximately 400,000 customers, primarily in northwestern Florida.

“Gulf Power was looking for an application to provide structure to our permitting process,” said Ben Bowen, joint use administrator for the utility. “Osmose has developed joint use software that provides that structure and that offers flexibility in taking existing data to the field, collecting new information, verifying and reconciling current data, and posting updates to our GIS. The first thing we’ll use the new software for is to work with data from an attachment and streetlight audit that Osmose is currently performing for us.”

The FastGate Manager for Joint Use application offers two main data-viewing options—-a geographic “map” view of pole, streetlight, and attachment features and a table-based view of that same data. The map view gives users a visual sense of location, which helps utilities detect patterns and plan work assignments. The table-based view provides a conventional spreadsheet display of information and allows sophisticated filtering and reporting of data, which can be Gulf Power Buys FastGate Manager for Joint Use, structured to include or exclude poles with specific attachment characteristics, such as poles with particular attachment types or poles with attachments by a specified owner. Editing of joint-use data is accomplished in map view on a pole-by-pole basis, or in table view employing the familiar editing tools and techniques of spreadsheet programs.

The joint-use application will work in conjunction with FastGate Manager for Poles, which was installed at Gulf Power in March 2005 to help coordinate the utility’s pole inspection and treatment program. FastGate Manager for Poles provides an integrated means of gathering and reporting on pole information, organizing follow-up inspections and remediation, and managing pole data collected in the field. It can be configured to work separately from the joint-use software or in conjunction with it on the same computer or work station.

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