How Snohomish County Public Utility District Uses Web Portal to Make Critical Operations Easier

Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) is the second largest publicly owned utility in the state of Washington. Serving more than 333,000 electric customers and 19,000 water customers, all of SnoPUD’s outage calls come through its operations center. While customer calls are an important source of information about outages, secondhand information about the state of the network isn’t enough to prevent future outages from occurring. To better inform its in-office team members, SnoPUD looked for a solution that would give it a complete operational picture of its network and on-the-ground operations at all times.

SnoPUD selected a network outage reporting and analytics solutionfrom Intergraph to examine current and historical events in its network and share this information across its organization.

Layers of Information 
Intergraph’s web portal application incorporates SnoPUD’s own data to build layers of informative maps through the use of simple XML documents. With its existing Intergraph G/Technology software, which is integrated with the utility’s distribution management system, SnoPUD can easily view all its GIS data through the web portal application. “If we want to see where all the conductors are, we can turn those on and designate colors for underground versus overhead assets,” said Barclay. “Everything we see in G/Technology, we can see as a layer in the web portal.”

By integrating data from Microsoft® Bing, Google Maps, or OpenStreet Maps, SnoPUD can also overlay as many sets of data as it needs to build additional map layers, tabular reports, charts, and graphs from external sources. This also allows it to integrate real-time weather radar that’s refreshed every 15 minutes by the weather service.

Timing is Everything 
Having up-to-date information without the need to constantly make manual revisions saves organizations hundreds of hours of labor. SnoPUD relies on its web portal to refresh at set intervals, providing it with the most recent data to make critical decisions.

“What’s great about Intergraph’s web portal is we can set different layers to refresh at different times. Each layer has its own timer, so whether we’re looking at vehicles or personnel in the field, weather information, or even circuits, we can set that refresh rate to what’s appropriate depending on the layer,” explained Dave Barclay, senior applications analyst, SnoPUD.

In addition to automatic updates for call events, outages, and weather, SnoPUD also integrated its automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, called Network Fleet, with its web portal. This system, set to refresh every five minutes, uses GPS to track all of SnoPUD’s 400 vehicle locations. This allows SnoPUD to monitor information on each vehicle, such as its average and current speeds, the vehicle type, and its direction.

Playback Features to Learn More
In addition to understanding the current state of its network, SnoPUD also wanted the ability to analyze past performance. With the web portal’s playback functionality, SnoPUD can review how it performed during any major event, such as a storm or major outage. Using a simple start date and end date, SnoPUD can track what occurred in the network at a given time, and assess how quickly crews were called to the scene. This playback functionality allows SnoPUD to address new ways to tighten its operations for future outages.

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