Developed and implemented a gas outage management system
The existing manual process of identifying gas customers to track during a service outage was to be replaced by a system developed by Great Arc. The existing manual process required that once a gas leak or point of planned outage was identified, that information was then relayed to an engineer having access to the paper gas facility maps. The engineer then reviewed the gas drawings, identifying all legs of the gas main affected. This would typically require that the engineer piece together multiple paper maps while trying to identify gas valves for potential shut-off locations, and visually trace out the full extent of the outage. These paper maps also contained customer address information, which the engineer had to list out and pass to a Customer Information System (CIS) operator who then built a list of customers to notify of the outage. This customer list was taken into the field and used by field crews to assist with meter shut-offs, and ultimately with the gas pilot re-lights after restoring the services.
The Gas Outage Management System (OMS) developed by Great Arc is integrated into the existing NIPSCO Web-based GIS application, FacilityBrowser. It uses the FacilityBrowser interface and query mechanisms, and adds its own network tracing and buffer query functions to allow engineers to trace the gas network and automatically identify all affected customers. The system then stores the data in a history table, and generates an HTML form of customer data for distribution to the field. The interface allows the engineer to perform “what-if” analysis to identify the correct limits of the outage. The form used to list affected customers also serves as the final checklist of customers as they are restored to power. Gas Outage histories can be recalled at any time. Related to the creation of this tool, Great Arc also built network-tracing functionality for electrical data. This tracing functionality was built using purely SQL statements and Cold Fusion to loop through database records to find the various circuits and equipment meeting the trace criteria.