"This is a wonderful, innovative, complete solution for management. MEDC GIS raises the quality of analyzing data and making decisions."
MEDC GIS - Getting Smarter
The Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) delivers power to the Governorate of Muscat, the capital of Oman. It serves over 450,000 customers and owns nearly 12,000 distribution transformers, 7,500 km of medium voltage, and 10,000 km of low voltage lines. MEDC was formed in 2005 after privatization. Until then, the Ministry of Housing, Water, and Electricity managed the power supply. Oman wanted better efficiency, transparency, and security of supply.
Since MEDC's founding, it has embraced significant innovation. Innovation and the use of GIS have been closely linked. GIS formed a pivotal foundation to
- Enable leaders to align strategic decision-making with operational capabilities.
- Create a strategic planning platform that supports MEDC's operations and plans.
- Enable effective strategic decision-making for assets and stakeholders.
Managing its distribution substations (DSS) was one of MEDC's critical activities. Broad use of paper forms ruled that process. To ensure the health of the equipment, crews must perform regular inspections. Huge concerns were insulating oil leaks, broken equipment, and corrosion.
Before inspections, personnel had to determine the navigation and sequencing to the various DSS locations. Then, they had to prepare the needed forms. This was time-consuming and error-prone. In addition, the crews had to carry cameras and those clumsy paper maps and forms.
During inspection, crews had to juggle papers and take pictures. They often had to revisit the sites, and depending on field conditions, they couldn't always decipher their field notes. After inspection was completed, it was common for forms to be lost. Personnel had to correlate the forms with the photos. They then had to input the data into spreadsheets. Data accuracy and lack of transparency were problems.
Management staff also had challenges. They needed to track the progress of the inspections. Performing analysis of transformer problems was difficult due to data accuracy issues. They also had to manage crews, create a maintenance strategy, and manage costs. These challenges are tough to meet without effective processes and confidence in the data.
Given MEDC's culture of innovation, management directed the GIS team to create a new mobility-based inspection process. The solution extensively uses the following:
- Esri's ArcGIS Desktop
- Schneider Electric's ArcFM Web
- Esri's ArcGIS Survey123 and ArcGIS Field Maps
- Esri's ArcGIS Dashboards
- Esri's ArcGIS Enterprise
ArcGIS Desktop shows the location of the assets. It provides insight into patterns and clusters of areas of concern. ArcFM Web's geoportal gives easy access to asset information to help the crews quickly locate problems. Esri field solutions make navigation, data collection, and management reporting simple and effective. They fuse capabilities of map viewing, high-accuracy GPS collection, smart form data entry, and location tracking.
ArcGIS Dashboards gives users—from the crews to senior management—full transparency as to the progress of the inspection process. In addition, it provides charts and graphs that create additional insight.
ArcGIS Enterprise forms the backbone of MEDC Web GIS services for running mobile applications, interactive dashboards, and custom applications.
More than 100 users, from the CEO to creative MEDC employees, use one or more of the applications.
"We no longer need to save the data on papers and work for long hours at the office to sort and link photos and locations, [with everything] becoming automatically stored once I submit the records from the field."—Eng. Mohammed Al Bahri
MEDC partnered with Khatib & Alami (K&A) of Lebanon. K&A developed MEDC's Integrated Reporting Engine Dashboard, a web-based operational reporting environment. It provides the technical and managerial users an easy solution to view all the possible data statistics with interactive map views. In addition, it provides the capability for both managers and engineers to quickly assess the network status and take the appropriate action.
Development work was done by the skilled MEDC GIS team by utilizing ArcGIS.
MEDC also employed Schneider Electric's ArcFM Web. It leads the end users to solve problems easily and make decisions quickly. In addition, it provides flexible access to MEDC's asset, infrastructure, and network information stored in their GIS.
The project removed the headaches mobile workers had experienced. MEDC was also able to gain better insight into the health of its assets. For example, MEDC was able to discover that transformers installed in 2007 were more prone to leaking, prompting the location of each of them. This initiated targeted inspections of transformers based on their tendencies to leak.
Using Survey123, MEDC collected more information than ever before, providing users with a solid foundation for additional analysis.
"I used to inspect 10 to 15 DSS daily, but now with smart transformation, I can inspect more than 30 DSS per day."—Eng. Mahmood Al Qassabi
MEDC doubled the number of inspections per worker each day, providing more data for management and ultimately a better operating environment. In addition, customers benefit from lower failures of critical assets.
MEDC's innovation improved employee morale, lowered costs, and enhanced the overall health of its assets. Customers see the fruits of that innovation with fewer outages and better service.
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