Electric Cooperative Speeds Outage Response by Integrating GIS and Automated Meter Reading

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Kootenai has used ESRI's GIS technology to link its customer information in the billing system with the outage management system.

Residents of Northern Idaho experienced a severe, debilitating windstorm last year that flattened the electric distribution system. Kootenai Electric, the member-owned electric cooperative based in Hayden, Idaho, was prepared for the outages. With a sturdy geographic information system (GIS) and automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system in place, the co-op was able to restore power to affected areas within a couple of days. Without this technology, the job would have taken two to three weeks.

Kootenai serves 22,000 homes around Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and grows by about 1,000 homes each year. Since the 1990s, Kootenai has used ESRI's GIS technology to link its customer information in the billing system with the outage management system. The world leader in GIS technology, ESRI creates GIS tools that can be tailored specifically for the utility industry. In 2002, Kootenai integrated its GIS with a Terawatt Accumulator (TWAC) high-speed power line carrier automated meter reading and advanced metering infrastructure system.

Together with GIS, the TWAC AMR/AMI system allows single meters or groups of meters to be queried and checked in real time. The system then gives utility dispatchers accurate counts and locations of customers affected. The addition of AMR/AMI to its GIS has dramatically improved the utility's response time to outages. Additionally, staff members at Kootenai are pleased with the system's easy-to-use menu and large selection of output report formats.

"Integrating GIS with the AMR/AMI system gave us the ability to dispatch crews directly to problem spots or eliminate trips altogether," said Keith Brooks, a GIS analyst with Kootenai. "The solution has been a substantial savings in money and time."

About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at http://www.esri.com.

ESRI, the ESRI globe logo, GIS by ESRI, http://www.esri.com, and @esri.com are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.

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Jessica Wyland
ESRI
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