Organizations in the energy utility industry face daunting challenges to provide consumers with vital services while minimizing costs. Software solutions are available to help utilities with real estate property management and other areas of concern.
Here are five of those areas of concern and how the right software can provide solutions that will benefit the organization and the consumer:
• Real Estate Property Management – Development of new transmission lines spanning many miles requires agreements with property owners. Encroachment agreements that provide access to the infrastructure must be tracked and easily obtained to ensure maintenance of the assets and the immediate surrounding area.
A Web-based software system and centralized database can improve efficiencies of these critical tasks. By access mobile technology, field agents upload new project information and photos without having to return to the office. Notifications of tasks required under encroachment agreements can be automated by the appropriate schedule. An audit trail of work done in the project area prevents duplication of work.
• Asset Management – Utility companies maintain scores of substations and hundreds of miles of towers, electricity transmission lines and gas distribution lines. Tracking such a large amount of infrastructure through maps, paper records or spreadsheets can lead to errors. The centralized database offers a more efficient and accurate process.
• Document Organization – Large organizations accumulate countless documents and records, much of which is kept in a variety of formats. Storing paper records requires a great deal of office space. By utilizing a centralized database, all of those records are stored in a single format, easily accessible in perpetuity. Plus, there’s no need for seemingly endless file cabinets and boxes.
• New Project Site Selection – Development of a long linear electric transmission project requires much planning. The first step is selecting the route of the towers and lines. Web-based software, offering GIS capability, helps with site selection, as well as information about existing infrastructure, affected landowners, development of access roads and other considerations.
• Maintenance – It is no longer necessary to rely upon spreadsheets, email or paper work orders to perform the many tasks associated with maintaining utility infrastructure. Web-based software provides automated alerts of when certain areas need checked. An audit trail of work performed eliminates duplication.
Dan Liggett is Communication and Public Relations Consultant for geoAMPS, a Columbus, OH-area company that specializes in software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets.