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As you browse our projects - which are as diverse as can be in location, size, client, solution, and project type - the one universal feature you will see across all is problem solved, with simplicity and clarity. Please enjoy a walk through our portfolio and feel free to contact any of our experts should you have any questions or need assistance with a solution.

market

electric utility

services

Data Processing

Web Application Development

Mobile Map Development

Project Management

AMI optimization toolset

American Electric Power (AEP) Texas

the need

Patrick has been a partner to AEP Texas for more than seven years, and we have continued to support their 1 Million Smart Meter AMI project. AEP came to Patrick in 2011 with a desire to visualize meter locations, cycles, routes, meter numbers, and street addresses to support their AMI deployment project.

One of the underlying drivers for these map viewers was the need for increased contractor accountability during deployment of AMI, Routers, and Collectors. AEP  needed improved reporting on installs for invoicing and smart scheduling, so that when meters were installed, the communication was accurate and thorough and issues could be handled quickly and efficiently.

The client was using spreadsheets to plan the deployment of all the smart meters. They quickly learned that their deployment plan had “meter holes” – entire subdivisions were being excluded while the surrounding neighborhoods all had smart meters. The holes were difficult to detect in a spreadsheet, but were easy to vizualize on a map.  

 

Additional requirements included visual planning around blackout dates to reduce interruptions, project status tracking, and including before/after photos of the last meter read to improve issue management. 

the solution

Patrick provided four things to improve the planning and deployment of Smart Meters at AEP:

  • Automated the data preparation process for information coming from the field.

  • Developed a web-based GIS map for field communication operations (Web Meter Map).

  • Developed an offline meter-mapping tool (Mobile Meter Map).

  • Manages hosting services for the web viewers.

Originally, the viewers served as a visual representation of deployed meter and network equipment assets for both back office personnel and field crews. Through adoption and increased use by various departments, the applications became more sophisticated. Users can now visualize distribution data, network equipment reporting status, and interact with reporting/dash-boarding interfaces. Mobile teams can map, route, and interact with assigned work activities by integrating their mobile work order management system.

the benefits

The Web and Mobile Meter Map viewers are productivity and key safety tools, allowing users to view and interact with over 1 million AMI infrastructural assets. Since the deployment of the viewers, the client’s truck rolls have been reduced by up to 1,500 a month. In addition, field and office employees, including meter services, customer services, and field communications, now use the tool regularly to identify and deal with meters and meter communications issues. Our GIS tools are evolving into a critical part of the client’s daily operations.

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Web Meter Map Benefits:
  • Visually plan around blackout dates caused fewer interruptions.

  • Project status tracking.

  • Simplified last meter read with the photos and accountability.

  • Decreased trips to the field when a meter has incorrect GPS. Using the map, users can find the correct point by address and get much closer to what the correct GPS should be. Monthly savings: more than 1500 field trips.

  • Plot groups of meters that are not communicating consistently to try establish a pattern, and/or determine if there may be a physical obstruction.

  • Determine if additional network equipment could solve inconsistent communications problems in a given area by plotting meters that are having issues.

 
Mobile Meter Map Benefits: 
  • Troubleshoot meter problems if unable to get communications working through remote means.

  • Data analytics checking for hot sockets, bad transformers, etc. based on information that meters are sending back.

  • Incorporate newly installed meters. 

  • Work customer complaints-test for meter accuracy.

  • Assist with planning efforts for site visits to every meter to check for tampering, new yard hazards, check for bad connections, and check for unsafe conditions in customer equipment.

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