“Transitioning to the Utility Network has laid the groundwork for a far more capable future. We already see improvements with visualization of our asset data and better-quality decision making. As more areas of LG&E and KU move to the Utility Network, we expect a ripple effect to occur that will enable the company to be better prepared for future challenges. With Esri and SSP Innovations assisting, we feel we are in great hands and positioned to maximize the benefits of our Enterprise GIS."
Modern Network Management Creates a Foundation for Increased Reliability
Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Company (KU), owned by PPL Corporation, supply energy to more than 1.3 million electric and natural gas customers in Kentucky and five counties in Virginia. The utilities are implementing a multiyear initiative across all lines of business to update their network management in support of strategic objectives.
The utilities' electric transmission group was searching for new map-based solutions for asset data capture and integration with external systems such as enterprise management software (EMS), PLS-CADD, and the utilities' data warehouse. LG&E and KU recognized that using geographic information system (GIS) technology across the enterprise would provide a strong foundation of geospatial infrastructure. They decided to build on ArcGIS Utility Network—a basis on which to deliver business value and maximize service reliability.
Phase one of the project is complete and in production, including electric transmission, power generation, and telecommunications. Phase two for LG&E's gas operations is under way and will be followed by implementation for electric power distribution.
Prior to the ArcGIS implementation, critical transmission information was often isolated. As a result, too much manual data processing was necessary to efficiently support key workflows like outage management.
Transmission GIS data was limited to individual transmission circuits, with their associated switches and structures. These circuits were not connected to one another and had no logical link to the distribution system. In addition, the data was managed by a third-party vendor, which increased the cost of routine updates, and it impaired integration capabilities. Substation device data was managed in a separate, nonspatial asset management system. The utilities set goals to improve asset and outage management. However, stale data and the lack of a connected, enterprise-wide view limited these objectives.
LG&E and KU partnered with SSP Innovations to lead an enterprise implementation of ArcGIS Utility Network. SSP is Platinum Tier Esri partner focused on utilities, and its forward-looking products span the geospatial technology landscape. SSP's services help resolve the consulting, technical, and data challenges that energy companies face.
SSP implemented ArcGIS Enterprise across the LG&E and KU organizations, creating the foundation for the fully integrated Geospatial Cloud. Migrating all lines of business to ArcGIS Utility Network included deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Pro, and ArcGIS mobile applications.
The project team brought the transmission GIS in-house and migrated to the ArcGIS Utility Network model. ArcGIS Pro and SSP Productivity manage the electric transmission data. The utilities' asset information editing team performs updates.
With the enterprise GIS securely housed internally, SSP configured a myriad of targeted web applications to visualize and interact with critical operational datasets. The team used ArcGIS Web AppBuilder to leverage the new GIS, producing live web maps dynamically linked to current data. Building on this success, existing web applications were upgraded to the new transmission GIS for weather and outage dashboards.
SSP further enriched the data by connecting devices; lines; and substation assets like circuit breakers, power transformers, and switches from one-line diagrams. The new capabilities dramatically improved network management with enhanced circuit connectivity modeling, device, and span management. Additional tools quickly import asset data from PLS-CADD and tightly integrate operational data from the data warehouse.
Live GIS data is now directly connected to rich asset management and operational datasets in the data warehouse. This includes weather conditions, outages, faults, reliability projects, and substation assets. As a result, valuable operational insights support informed decision-making to enhance service reliability and contain costs.
Bringing GIS data maintenance in-house reduced data management costs and saved time in the update cycle. Additionally, ArcGIS expanded options for integration with other critical business systems like EMS, asset management, the enterprise data warehouse, and PLS-CADD.
Migrating the transmission system to ArcGIS Utility Network, and modeling additional devices, also ushered in much-needed analysis capabilities. For example, future plans include acquiring the ability to approximate fault locations with live tracing. Using data from the EMS system in this way will provide greater insight into the criticality of branch outages.
Finally, this modern solution paves the way to interconnect transmission and distribution GIS information. Centralized management will allow visualization of distribution impacts of transmission events.