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New Brunswick Power Recognized for Leveraging GIS to Improve Outage Response

Fredericton, Esri Canada User Conference – October 28, 2014 New Brunswick Power (NB Power) was recognized today with an Award of Excellence from Esri Canada for leveraging their geographic information system (GIS) to provide more effective communication to the public as well as internal staff during power outages. A new outage application was tested during the aftermath of hurricane Arthur and delivers a visually appealing geographic format which makes the magnitude of power loss easily understood and accessible to a wide audience.

“When an outage occurs, customers want to know two things: ‘does the utility know that my power is out’ and ‘when will their power be restored’,” said Tony O’Hara, executive director, Engineering and Operations, NB Power. “Outage information was previously provided through lists on our Web site which customers had to sort through to determine general areas being affected by outages. The new map-based interface allows customers to easily zoom into an area to view the geographic scope of outages and get restoration status information.”

In 2014, three major storms created major power outages across the province.  The storms prompted NB Power to reassess their entire outage management process.  Keeping customers better informed and empowering storm management personnel and field crews to respond more strategically to outages their top priorities.  In the days following hurricane Arthur, NB Power deployed the outage application in collaboration with Service New Brunswick to provide up-to-date information on affected areas along with estimated restoration times. A subsequent version of the application will be deployed in the coming weeks.

In addition to providing critical outage information to customers, the internal facing application delivers a high-level planning and management view which offers a broader operational perspective.  It is deployed to staff and management, incorporating additional layers and asset information to track the extent of outages and restoration progress.  If additional customers lose power, cluster bubbles change colour to indicate critical areas where crews are to be redirected.

This application builds on the success of other internal, Web-based GIS applications that have enabled the utility to better manage field engineering, streetlight maintenance, cable attachments, LED streetlight replacement program, vegetation management and a transmission asset browser.

“NB Power’s approach to developing applications with ArcGIS Online has delivered tremendous benefits including the ability to quickly deploy new applications like this outage map,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.  “Access to this information allows them to cut restoration times by sending field crews and supplies to the right place, right away which ultimately improves service to affected customers.”

About New Brunswick Power
NB Power is a progressive, sustainable and customer-focused utility whose 2,300 employees are dedicated to providing quality service and safe, reliable electricity at low and stable rates. Our electricity is generated at 13 facilities throughout New Brunswick and delivered via power lines, substations and terminals to more than 350,000 New Brunswick homes, businesses, hospitals, schools etc. Our system is interconnected with neighboring jurisdictions providing the opportunity to import and export to New England, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Today, our generation mix is about 65% non-emitting with a goal to get to 75% by 2020.

About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks – Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada.  Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300.  Information about the company can be found at esri.ca. Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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