Why utility companies require location intelligence?

A service territory's ability to maintain power is crucial, but so are risk management, infrastructure upkeep, and compliance

Ashwani RawatUpdated: Thursday, August 25, 2022, 10:25 PM IST
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It is crucial for utilities firms of all sizes to maintain operational excellence. A service territory's ability to maintain power is crucial, but so are risk management, infrastructure upkeep, and compliance. Unplanned outages can occur when assets are not repaired in a timely manner, but failing to consider hazards can have much more severe long- and short-term effects. Utility businesses must constantly have access to the most precise information about their infrastructure and the environment around it.

Utility firms may carry out necessary operations more quickly and effectively by integrating location technology and data into departmental workflows. Project teams can obtain the data they require remotely and make use of current, consistent data across numerous initiatives at once rather than acquiring project-related data themselves before planning and executing. Let’s understand why public utilities, municipal utilities, and energy cooperatives all need an end-to-end location intelligence platform.

Utility businesses must change along with energy production and distribution in order to fulfil the demands of a shifting market. Here are some benefits of location intelligence.

Why utility companies require location intelligence

Streamlining Suitability Analysis: Grid modernisation and the development of renewable energy are two of the utility industry's most urgent issues, and they both necessitate large scale capital projects in the near future. Accurate location data is crucial to the success of any project, whether it be examining a single site for a new piece of infrastructure or managing the right-of-way for hundreds of miles of new transmission lines.

For instance, a real estate team has to know who owns each plot of property under consideration and what kind of use each is designated for when negotiating easements or leases. To come up with a fair offer, they'll also need to look over each parcel's transaction history and find comparable deals. Many utility companies obtain this information directly from each county in which they have business, but this takes time and may produce erroneous or out-of-date data. Real estate professionals will be able to derive useful insights from the data at their disposal thanks to a location intelligence platform built on solid property data that provides up-to-date, correct location information.

Mitigate and proactively manage risk: Understanding how natural hazards may affect a utility company's infrastructure and service delivery is one of their most crucial responsibilities. A location intelligence platform also offers detailed hazard data, which can be used to assess the dangers related to natural disasters, such as if a home is vulnerable to flooding. Additionally, up-to-date aerial imagery can assist utility firms in monitoring vegetation growth around power lines and other assets and directing maintenance crews to to areas that require attention.

Upkeep of infrastructure: To provide excellent service, infrastructure maintenance is essential. Utility firms may map their assets and keep track of any repair activities when they employ a location intelligence platform to manage their infrastructure. In order to better predict which assets will need servicing (and when), they can import and visualise any data collected by their Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. This allows them to direct specialists to the location of a potential problem. This can assist utility businesses in ensuring reliable service delivery when used in combination with an efficient risk reduction strategy.

Communicate within service territories: Utility services should prioritise timely client communication, however this is a critical feature that is frequently neglected. Residents must be informed of any planned or unplanned service interruptions by maintenance staff. Similarly, employees in charge of marketing and customer service frequently have to convey crucial details regarding energy efficiency, rebate schemes, and other imperative activities.

Another area that a location intelligence platform may streamline is that utility companies can easily trace the line that needs to be serviced, add a buffer to select all nearby properties that will be impacted by the maintenance, and quickly produce mailing labels to inform property owners of the impending service, for instance, if a transmission line needs to be maintained. Similar to this, marketing groups might focus their outreach efforts on rebate programmes for low-income homes by using demographic overlays. Utility firms may improve operational efficiency and guarantee that the correct customers are receiving the right messages at the right time by utilising data instead of "spray and pray" communications strategies.

Summing up

The timing of this impact, or the "Era of Location Intelligence," is ideal, and its scope cannot be emphasised. The operational and commercial insights gained from location data are priceless for addressing the most difficult problems that utilities confront today and for the rest of this decade.

(Ashwani Rawat is co-founder director of Transerve)

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