HALÁSZ

Supporting cyclical electrical Network CONDITION surveying 

Business environment

Today’s raising customer service quality awareness, stricter legislatory and regulatory requirements and investor’s expectation of same profit levels as before the economic crisis forces electrical utilities to rethink their enterprise asset management strategies.

 

In the earlier days network maintenance planning was thought of as a cyclical and evenly spaced activity, while reconstruction and development planning was based mainly on the age of the network segments involved. Budgets were proportional to the size of affected network segments.
In the current business environment this attitude is changing. Maintenance and reconstruction planning is shifting towards a more sophisticated and selective approach. Asset owners are taking into account the network objects’ role in the network and topology, the number and importance of affected customers, the risk of executing or omitting maintenance or network development activities.

State of affairs
While the emerging, risk based maintenance and reconstruction strategies rely more heavily on up to date and detailed network asset condition information, the current state of affairs is that:

  • Cyclical network condition surveying is planned partly independently of the GIS based network information system, resulting that some critical network assets are not surveyed at all.
  • Field crew is filling in paper based survey forms, leaving room for subjective interpretation onsite and later on while back office processing.
  • Photos of network objects taken onsite cannot be attached to the survey forms and prone to get lost, thus critical information never reaches the asset managers.
  • Survey results are processed later on manually with human effort, slowing down the information gathering process and injecting processing errors into the results.
  • Survey results are not linked to the GIS based network information system and stored mainly in local information silos (MS Excel or MS Access databases) accessible to a handful of potential users only.

All in all the current network condition surveying process needs rethinking and IT side support to be able to meet requirements of risk based network maintenance and reconstruction planning.

HALÁSZ – The Network Condition Surveyor
The HALÁSZ Network Condition Surveyor System is an application that supports the process of structured data gathering of electrical network condition surveying.

 

Central application
The central HALÁSZ application provides services for managing and monitoring the execution of the approved yearly network surveying projects: starting from project initiation, over onsite execution by field crew and finally ending with quality checks and project closure.
The application is tightly integrated with the electrical utility’s GIS based network information system. This enables the meta data driven survey-form generator of HALÁSZ to provide information that enables onsite identification of the network objects to be surveyed.
The field crew – executing the surveying task – might find discrepancies between the network inventory information and real network objects. These discrepancies can be noted on the survey-forms along the network object condition. Via the same HALÁSZ- Network Information System interface the information is forwarded to the network information system for further processing.
The execution of surveying tasks are scheduled, dispatched and overviewed by the electrical utility’s workforce management system (WFMS). The central HALÁSZ application is integrated with the WFMS system and ensures that field crews receive all their tasks from various source systems but via the same information channel, i.e. the WFMS system.
The central application is a lightweight workflow application, with web based user interface, that stores all its data in a central Oracle database.

Mobile application
The HALÁSZ Mobile is a meta data driven, electronic survey-form entry application. It can operate in a standalone fashion or embedded into the mobile WFMS client of the electrical utility.
Most common mobile equipment – like Panasonic Toughbook® and other tablets – have built-in GPS. This can help crew to navigate to site via maps like Google Map / Earth or the utility company’s own map and locate network objects to be surveyed. When already onsite, clicking the network object on the map, the HALÁSZ Mobile application can bring forward the survey-form that needs to be filled in.
Built-in GPS also helps back office survey result evaluation. All information entered by the field crew onsite is time- and location stamped.
The survey-form entry is mobile optimized. Each network object (transformer, bay, circuit breaker, overhead line, pole etc.) has its own, metadata driven, versioned data entry form, containing network inventory information and condition survey questions. Most condition questions have fixed responses and are displayed as push buttons. It eliminates typo errors, leaves little or no room for subjectivity, and finally streamlines data entry onsite and evaluation at the back office.
The HALÁSZ Mobile application provides support for attaching photos to the survey-forms using the embedded or an external camera of the mobile equipment. Attached photos are forwarded with survey data to the central database. After quality assurance, the photos and survey information are accessible enterprise wide via the GIS based network information system.

Benefits of introducing HALÁSZ to DÉMÁSZ Zrt.
Introduction of the HALÁSZ Central and Mobile application will bring significant benefits:

  • Electrical network condition surveying is executed along a closed, IT supported process.
  • Network condition information is processed once – onsite, by field crew. It significantly reduces survey project turnaround time and minimizes back office processing efforts.
  • Onsite survey-form includes electrical network inventory information. It helps the field crew to identify network objects onsite and by noting discrepancies between network inventory and onsite actual condition, the data quality of the Network Information System will continuously improve.
  • Structured surveyed condition data is attached to the Network Information System’s objects. It enables organizational units, responsible for network asset management, to have access to up to date information for shaping the maintenance and reconstruction strategy of the enterprise.