Although the key process of identifying grow-in and fall-in hazards to both distribution and transmission lines are similar, the regulations, environments and client priorities will differ significantly between the two.
For example, transmission lines in the US are often able to maintain large clear cut corridors so the numbers of vegetation grow-in hazards will be very small. For distribution lines, which are much more prevalent, it is impractical to hope to maintain a clear cut and so the number of grow-in and fall-in hazards are more significant. Because of this, different kinds of analyses that assess the volume and likelihood of areas of vegetation hazards are valuable to aid in work management prioritisation.
“If done well, an efficient and accurately informed vegetation management program can save a utility a large amount of money and improve network reliability through more accurately identified true vegetation hazards and reduced numbers, if any, of false vegetation hazards,” explains Sophie Davison, Vegetation Products Manager at NM Group in UK. On the contrary, the consequences of poor vegetation management can get costly. Sophie continues: “Inefficiency or using inaccurate data can lead to outages, regulatory fines, increased management costs and, in the worst cases, vegetation related fires and associated lawsuits.”
Especially with the mobile solutions becoming more and more popular for field work where the working conditions can be extreme and unhandiness soon leads to linemen returning to the pen and paper, ensuring the tools and devices are easy-to-use and support the user workflows is more important than ever. For that, user experience specialists play a very important role in designing the solutions to fit their purpose - work that goes way beyond the user interface.
From the very beginning, the core of Trimble's solution for managing electrical distribution networks has been about combining asset data with geospatial information and electro-technical data. Knowing what your assets are, where they’re located and how they connect to each other is more than just documenting your network, it is about composing a model out of the network. And on top of that model, you have an ever expanding set of features from searching and analyzing to planning and running your network operations.
Looking at the development pace for alternative energy sources, it’s only a question of time when a disruptive innovation wipes over the utility business. So what could be done today to keep the utilities in business, and what does the regulation have to do with it?
Insights into development of electricity distribution software. Offered to you by the most inspiring industry experts.