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Nova Scotia Power Wins Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award

Enterprise implementation of geospatial platform transforms electric utility operations

San Diego, CA, Esri International User Conference – Esri Canada congratulates Nova Scotia Power for receiving the 2015 Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award. The electric utility was selected from thousands of Esri customer organizations worldwide that use geographic information system (GIS) technology to improve our world. Nova Scotia Power has expanded its use of Esri’s ArcGIS platform across their organization from one user in 2001 to 800 users today, establishing an enterprise system that has transformed their entire business – from management to operations to customer service.

“Connecting data and systems across their organization through GIS is significantly paying off for Nova Scotia Power,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “It empowers their staff with location intelligence to make better decisions and provides the foundation for more efficient and sustainable operations. Their focused commitment to using ArcGIS throughout their enterprise is remarkable; it’s helping them achieve their goal of making clean energy widely available.”

Nova Scotia Power’s internal GIS steering committee developed a framework for effective governance and created a document to promote standards for data models and workflows across the utility. In 2009, the utility embarked on a three-year GIS connectivity project that enabled them to develop an accurate digital representation of their expansive distribution network. They also converted existing datasets of their utility land base, customer locations and infrastructure and developed a centralized Web-based portal to make this data available to all business units. The portal connects various applications including their outage management system and customer databases. As a result, various departments have successfully implemented numerous GIS-based applications and services which provide the following benefits:

  • Sustainability – Using spatial modelling and analysis, Nova Scotia Power monitors and plans the potential environmental impact of their operations to make informed decisions and share information with key stakeholders. They use ArcGIS to support their clean energy initiatives including the Maritime Link generation project, which will harness hydroelectric energy from Labrador’s Churchill River to supply clean energy to the province of Nova Scotia, as well as to accurately identify optimal sites for wind farm development.
  • Increased efficiency – The utility has moved to a paperless transmission and distribution asset inspections process using an ArcGIS for Windows Mobile application that has improved turnaround times for field crews to collect and report field data. The application also enables transmission planners to build capital work programs. An operational view of the status of transmission inspections can be quickly and easily accessed through Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS.
  • Improved system reliability – Through their Web portal, engineers and operational managers are able to spatially profile risk along their network to minimize and shorten the duration of outages. They can also visualize their network’s distribution topology (spatial relationships between features), along with critical asset information to immediately pinpoint the location and impact of outages.
  • Rapid outage response – The distribution GIS model provides the foundation for the Schneider Electric Advanced Distribution Management System which helps the utility to efficiently monitor, analyze and manage their power distribution network. During severe storms, damage assessment crews use Collector for ArcGIS to provide real-time updates to their emergency operations centre. This supplemental damage assessment information used in conjunction with outage incidents helps their operations team to effectively prioritize and coordinate storm response efforts.
  • Improved regulatory reporting – A Web application created using ArcGIS Online has improved access to information for industry regulators monitoring compliance. Nova Scotia’s utility regulator can view distribution assets through a secure Web application, which has expedited the flow of information.

“Geospatial data has become essential to our operations,” remarked Stephen Pothier, director of operational systems and quality assurance, Nova Scotia Power. “As we’ve collected location data and made it accessible to our employees, we’ve been able to improve our decision-making to the benefit of our customers and stakeholders.  Nova Scotia Power is proud to be the 2015 recipient of the Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award and we’re delighted to have our efforts acknowledged by Esri.”

View a complete list of the 2015 Esri SAG Award winners at esri.com/sag.

About Nova Scotia Power

Nova Scotia Power Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emera Inc. (TSX-EMA), a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Power is a fully-integrated regulated electric utility and the primary electricity supplier in Nova Scotia, Canada. Nova Scotia Power has $4.5 billion of assets and provides electricity generation, transmission and distribution services to approximately 505,000 customers. Nova Scotia Power has a workforce of approximately 1,700 people. More information is available at nspower.ca.

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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