Vegetation management software helps utilities work smarter

Powel introduces dedicated vegetation management software platform.

St. Paul, Minn., February 18, 2011—Powel, Inc., a developer of software that helps utilities work smarter, has announced availability of a vegetation management platform within the Powel WorkStudio suite of mobile work management tools for planning, prioritizing and documenting vegetation maintenance.

The Integrated Vegetation Management Platform (IVMP) from Powel is cited to be the only enterprise software system devoted to mission critical vegetation maintenance that streamlines workflow, enhances reliability and enables regulatory compliance, including NERC FAC-003-1 provisions.

IVMP software tools meet the requirements of transmission and distribution utilities in the office and in the field. The package uses WorkStudio technology, itself an extension of the proven StakeOut field design tool relied on by utilities across the country. The full IVMP suite includes:

- Maintenance Manager—This back-office application helps utilities analyze, plan, and assign vegetation tasks. It connects directly to the WorkStudio Server, which synchronizes assignments to the VegWorks mobile client, along with maps and unit costs. Work can be assigned based on the type of crew required. Completed work, including all reactive, mitigation, capital and cycle work, is maintained to drive analysis and planning.

- VegWorks—A mobile client allowing crews to perform inspections, identify the type and location of work, and recommend appropriate equipment and crews. It allows crews to inspect completed work, bring up work orders for annotation, and create new work orders. It also synchronizes with the server to close out open work orders.

- WorkStudio Server—Manages communication with other systems and can interface with most industry-standard GIS, CIS, and financial packages. Information on the WorkStudio Server can be synchronized to mobile and desktop clients, as well as accessed utility-wide via InfoCenter, a Web-based reporting tool.

- InfoCenter—A web-based portal for limited access to select information residing on the WorkStudio server so that contractors only have access to data, such as reports or work orders, required to do their work. Executive management can also use InfoCenter to gain visibility into the vegetation management program.

Utilities can scale deployment of IVMP to use the components that fit current needs.

“Vegetation management is as critical as any T&D maintenance program for system reliability,” said Scott Rogers, CEO Scott Rogers. “Real-time information from IVMP gives managers a comprehensive view into their vegetation program so that they can perform the right maintenance at the right time while satisfying NERC regulations in the process.”

IVMP lets utilities create year-by-year trimming plans for an entire service territory, allowing for more effective planning and dispatch of cycle work. It also creates and stores historical records of all inspections and mitigations performed against a given line section with all associated costs. The package also comes with a series of standard templates for the most common reporting scenarios, including herbicide application, mitigation, ground inspection results and encroachment.

Data in IVMP can be collected via fly-over (LIDAR or aerial inspections), ground inspection or customer calls so that each danger observation is documented, tracked and addressed in a timely manner. Thorough and accurate data collected by the system can significantly reduce outage risks and potential NERC investigations. Documentation can be quickly generated by IVMP to satisfy an investigation should one occur.

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