|Digital Energy Geospatial Systems|
Xcel Energy is a fully regulated provider of electricity and natural gas in 8 Western and Midwestern states, with revenue of more than $9 billion annually. It provides energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers. Xcel Energy recognized the need to implement an automated solution leveraging its use of mobile data technology, to assure compliance with regulations related to the maintenance and inspection of natural gas distribution control devices.
To that end, starting in December 2009 and working together with the GE Energy MapFrame™ team, a solution was created to meet this business need. The solution automated the process of documenting gas leak surveys and inspecting gas valves and regulators. It provides an ability to select orders by location and inspection due date that will be assigned to the field crews, and it routes these inspections electronically to improve tracking and record keeping. It also provides the ability to capture work order and leak tracking information collected in the field, which is maintained in Xcel Energy’s corporate work management system.
The Mobile Maintenance & Inspection-Gas (MMIG) project was successfully launched in July 2010 marking the first deployment of MapFrame’s leak survey product. Some of the benefits realized by this deployment include elimination of time-consuming manual processes, reduced risk of missing inspection dates, reduced time spent converting data from paper to back-office systems, and enabling “real-time” transfers of important information such as facility damage data and gas leak data.
Xcel Energy and GE Energy are now working on the Electric Transmission Asset Management System (TAMS) phase of the inspect project. One of the major components of this new project is GPS Mode, a FieldSmart Inspect™ feature that can be used to inspect objects that fall within a specified proximity of a field technician's current GPS location. GPS Mode automatically locates assets targeted for inspection while in the field, supporting operational processes best performed with a helicopter, airplane, automobile, or on foot.