"The choice to upgrade to Esri's ArcGIS Utility Network was based on the realization that future integrations of systems depend on a solid connectivity model, which this network provides. With the solution only in production for a short period of time, Kaukauna Utilities is realizing efficiencies not only in mapping but also engineering and operations. POWER's Network Extractor for Milsoft is one tool that has saved us hours of work."
Superior Network Model Advances Key Workflows
Kaukauna Utilities (KU) is a customer-driven, community-minded, and environmentally responsible electric and water utility. KU serves 16,000 customers in the Kaukauna, Wisconsin, area. KU updated its geographic information system (GIS) to improve work processes, increase efficiency, and address the increasing complexity of the electric system. An improved electric system model offers full intelligent connectivity from generation to the customers. This strategic move also enabled future updates to both the water and fiber networks. ArcGIS Utility Network provided the necessary capabilities.
The utility's capital budget planning relies heavily on an engineering analysis of the electric system. KU uses Milsoft's WindMil software for this purpose. However, the analysis model was difficult to maintain because it was manual and labor intensive. As a result, staff only updated the analysis model once a year at budget time.
The level of effort required for this synchronization was significant. In addition, manual processing came with the potential for errors. Consequently, staff had a lower confidence level in the model, which was not up-to-date.
The utility wanted to migrate from its Esri geometric network to the new ArcGIS Utility Network electric data model. Therefore, it looked to POWER Engineers, Incorporated (POWER), to help implement a solution that provides an automated extract with accurate, up-to-date data. In this way, ArcGIS Utility Network would support both the analysis and the outage management system (OMS) with nightly updates.
Electric, Water & Fiber
Challenge – The Kaukauna Utilities (KU) system analysis model was difficult to maintain because of manual processing.
Solution – KU transitioned to the ArcGIS Utility Network electric data model and integrated with other key business systems.
Results – KU’s engineering analysis and OMS benefit from more accurate data about its electric system.
KU used Milsoft's WindMil software for engineering analysis and needed a new solution to integrate with it. So first, the utility upgraded to ArcGIS Enterprise and established a plan to transition from the geometric network to the ArcGIS Utility Network electric data model.
POWER developed the POWER Network Extractor tool to integrate third-party applications with ArcGIS Utility Network. For example, the POWER Network Extractor enabled KU to consume its GIS distribution, transmission, and subtransmission networks in the Milsoft WindMil engineering analysis package.
POWER implemented numerous data quality rules and configured the POWER Network Extractor to run every night. The extract for the WindMil application supports the utility's engineering analysis functions and also sustains the outage management system (dataVoice International).
Dave Pahl, KU's manager of generation and substations, noted, "The extractor runs nightly to update Milsoft's WindMil—it's coming through without any errors; it's pretty amazing."
The built-in attribute rules of ArcGIS Utility Network naturally enforce much higher data quality. As a result, KU is now benefiting from more accurate data about its electric system.
Updating the analysis and OMS models every day was a significant process improvement. This step dramatically advanced information currency. At the same time, it improved employee morale and confidence. Furthermore, engineering staff save many work hours and eliminate manual errors. Now the utility has a high-quality system analysis model ready for the engineers to use at a moment's notice.
The solution also supports KU's other operational software systems, including the customer information system (CIS). The new functionality is helping KU differentiate between types of customers and improve CIS data accuracy as well. As a result, customers are more consistently associated with the correct service.
ArcGIS Utility Network lays the groundwork to make similar improvements for both the water and fiber networks. In addition, KU now also leverages field apps for electric and water, viewing the latest infrastructure data in the field and collecting new data.
Pahl saw the upgrade to ArcGIS Utility Network as a "key requirement to the success of many other systems at Kaukauna Utilities." By leveraging the network topology and integrations, he "anticipates efficiencies in distribution design, system operations, and outage management—all of which provide more reliable service to customers."
POWER Engineers, Incorporated, provides a full suite of geospatial and asset management solutions for all utility sectors. POWER also specializes in implementing Esri's ArcGIS Utility Network and has developed numerous tools to support utilities in this process. Kaukauna Utilities selected POWER to help with its transition because of its proprietary extractor tool that seamlessly integrates with third-party applications like Milsoft's WindMil.