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Unitil Corp. Looks Beyond the Forest, Implements GeoDigital’s Vegetation Management Solution
New England-based utility to boost reliability, regulatory compliance with mobile vegetation maintenance software
New Hampshire-based Unitil and four of its local affiliates provide electric service to more than 100,000 customers and natural gas to nearly 72,000 customers in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Its territory includes approximately 2,000 miles of overhead lines.
Unitil historically received high marks for customer service and regulatory compliance but wanted to enhance a company-wide tree pruning program in 2011 and initiated the search for vegetation management software to:
• Track and report on Distribution and Sub-Transmission work based on feeder metrics, historic data, forecasts, annual work plans, unscheduled work and crew productivity
• Plan and forecast cycle work
• Store data in a database in a geographic format
• Provide QA/QC for the work and provide performance indicators
• Create work packets
• Record and track customer restrictions
GeoDigital’s Vegetation Management Solution automates typical utility work functions in right-of-way management of trees and ground cover. The VegWorks application is an easy-to-use mobile tool for assessors, vegetation crews, and auditors. Crews receive assigned work and record their completions using a simple pen-based interface. Auditors can generate and perform random audits to ensure work was completed as specified. All work is documented and can be quickly formatted to satisfy reporting requirements.
Sara Sankowich, Unitil System Arborist, said, “Once the deployment is complete, VegWorks will help Unitil supervisors to streamline work and, in turn, save time relative to planning and reporting.” Foresters use VegWorks for unit-based assessments. “When you’re in the field, you can take a picture and attach it to the record that’s accessible to everyone. That makes it easy to assign the work and it eliminates room for error,” Sankowich adds.
Unitil expects to have the enhanced vegetation management solution completed in fall 2012.
Accompanying Image credit: Courtesy of Unitil
Caption: Unitil's team of foresters, lead by Sankowich, discuss preventative tree trimming measures prior to pruning. Sankowich appears in the left corner.
About Unitil Corporation
Unitil Corporation provides energy for life by safely and reliably delivering natural gas and electricity in New England. We are committed to the communities we serve and to developing people, business practices, and technologies that lead to dependable, more efficient energy. Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil’s operating utilities serve approximately 101,400 electric customers and 71,900 natural gas customers. Other subsidiaries include Usource, Unitil’s non-regulated business segment. For more information about our people, technologies, and community involvement please visit www.unitil.com.
GeoDigital International Inc. and its predecessor companies have a 20-year history in airborne mapping for the utility industry, providing leading-edge solutions for mapping, vegetation inspection and line rating and clearance analysis services to customers across around the world. With offices located throughout Canada and the United States, GeoDigital has mapped more than 480,000 km (nearly 300,000 miles) and more than 1,800,000 structures worldwide making GeoDigital the leader for corridor mapping in North America. For more information please visit www.geodigital.com.