United Services Group (USG), Elk River, Minnesota, announced that they have successfully tied the Barron Electric Cooperative, ESRI GIS system to the Hunt Technologies’ Turtle automated meter reading System. This tie enables the Cooperative to easily see which members on their distribution system are out of power through their mapping system. Barron Electric Cooperative (BEC) serves more than 16,000 members, with over 2,800 miles of distribution line in eight different counties in Northwest Wisconsin. The process of using the Turtle System for power outages was started in 2001, when the cooperative was hit by one of the worst storms in Co-op history. As a result of that storm, over 50% of the membership were without power. BEC is now 100% deployed with the Turtle System. Dallas Sloan, Director of Operations for BEC stated: “We can now call each substation and get a Turtle Power Fail Report. With the tie USG created for us, we import this data into our new ESRI mapping system, project our system map on a wall, and quickly identify which members are without power. We feel this information not only gives us a clearer picture of how large the outage is, but how to better manage our crews. In the future, we hope to get this information out to the crews in the field, so they can see first-hand, where the trouble is and how large of an area is affected.”
The Turtle System to ESRI tie that USG developed for Barron Electric Cooperative is based on information contained in the TurtleWare OPCenter database. Utilizing this information, we evaluate and manipulate the symbology in ESRI’s ArcMap to visually display customers that are currently “powered down”. We have added a parameter to the evaluation to eliminate those customers who are known to be out for other reasons (i.e. seasonal). Additional reporting is also accomplished that provides information that is not readily available in the TurtleWare software such as transformer, customer and mapping database information.