GIS program moving forward

By Staff
Nathan Strickland
The Russellville electric board is implementing a new, high- tech Geographical Information System (GIS) to help employees and customers speed up the power service recovery process during power outages.
The GIS system is a database that contains aerial maps, which accurately present detailed information about all of the electric board’s assets and equipment in use such as power lines, poles, transformers and meters.
Other benefits of this system includes the ability for employees to view areas of the system in detail for improved planning and implementation of field work, helps facilitate inventory record maintenance and sets up the board for future implementation of Smart Grid technology.
Trimble Navigation Unlimited based out of Sunnyville, Calif., is helping the electric board setup, synchronize and digitize the program into their systems.
Trimble professional services manager Vasile Dragu said the system has multiple abilities and is very efficient.
The GIS system is able to show employees an aerial shot of all the power and is able to give detailed information such as wire size, poll size, length between poles and voltage measurements.
Russellville electric board coordinator William Stone said the system is so advanced that it is able to show customer’s meters located on their house.
The aerial map inside the GIS system was created from the electric board’s billing list, so every customer whose power is through Russellville Utilities will be in the system. The system will serve approximately 5,000 customers and cost $30 per customer over a five-year period.
The Russellville electric board will also take a step toward Smart Grid technology, creating a pilot project next spring to test some redesigned meter. The board will implement 20 to 25 newly constructed meters that will have remote control capabilities, which, according to Stone, could potentially be a great asset during bad weather.
The GIS system has been integrated and the electric board plans to start training employees on the system within the next two weeks. Stone and apprentice lineman Chris Swinney, who has previous experience with this type of technology, will serve as the main editors of the software, while other employees will learn the basics.