Autodesk helps operator of nation's fifth largest investor-owned electric system realize enhanced utility network design and management.

Autodesk, Inc., San Rafael, Calif., announced that FirstEnergy, the operator of the nation's fifth largest investor-owned electric system, has chosen to expand its use of Autodesk's geospatial products and services to create an enhanced platform for utility distribution network design and management. Building on existing Autodesk investments that allow for the integration of geographic and design data, FirstEnergy will deploy a new web-based solution to more effectively create, manage and share geospatial data from its utility distribution system throughout the enterprise. As a result, FirstEnergy expects to gain competitive advantage through improved customer responsiveness and satisfaction, increased system reliability and reduced operating costs.

Based in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy provides retail energy and related services to 4.4 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The company has been using an Autodesk Geographic Information System (GIS) for 10 years that is recognized as one of the most successful enterprise GIS implementations worldwide in terms of stability, scalability and performance. More than 20,000 new design projects are created in the system each month by its 2,000 users. It is also the system of record for all FirstEnergy distribution system physical infrastructure and circuit connectivity models and several critical downstream systems depend of its availability, including work management and outage management.

While the current system is recognized for its industrial-strength back-end, FirstEnergy needed a modernized front-end user interface for its designers and a more efficient way to share its rich geospatial information with non-technical users. To facilitate a safe and rapid deployment, a global team from Autodesk Consulting will work closely with FirstEnergy to upgrade its existing Autodesk and Oracle database technologies, deploy Autodesk Map 3D 2006 to 600 designers allowing them to create, man­age, and share spatial data with complete engineering precision, and to make the information accessible to more than 1,400 additional users via the web through Autodesk MapGuide 6.5. Autodesk Consulting will also ensure effective knowledge transfer for the new system to FirstEnergy, so that FirstEnergy personnel can maintain and support the Autodesk solution.

The new Autodesk solution will give FirstEnergy employees more direct, intuitive access to the geospatial information they need in order to do their jobs better. For example, circuit reliability index (CRI) maps are used by management to proactively monitor distribution circuit reliability and reduce outages by deploying field resources more effectively. The new system will provide FirstEnergy's Energy Delivery team with access to this vital information anytime, anywhere via a Web browser in just seconds. In addition, expenses such as paper and shipping will be significantly reduced.

Source: Autodesk, April 26, 2005