Great Lakes Energy rounds out technology upgrade with mobile work management tool


Boyne City, MI and St. Paul, MN, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 25, 2010 – Michigan electric cooperative Great Lakes Energy has selected Powel, Inc.’s StakeOut® mobile field design client to streamline work flow as well as synchronize all office, customer and engineering data for greater access and higher productivity.

StakeOut is field staking software that tracks work through carefully defined processes from initiation to close out, making status updates available throughout the utility.  The software integrates with most CIS, accounting and GIS packages using the NRECA’s MultiSpeak Standard. Work done in the field and posted to a GIS automatically updates the utility’s system maps in near real-time. Personnel throughout the enterprise have access to the most recent information.

Great Lakes system engineer Gus Paz said that installing the client-server based StakeOut 7.5 was part of a substantial technology upgrade that saw them transition from paper to digital after commissioning a Milsoft WindMilMap GIS (Geographic Information System).

“Our plans originally called for acquiring a GIS system and we saw PC-based staking packages as a natural and necessary extension. Until now, all of our field design technicians manually sketched drawings and calculated units. Soon they will be designing new job sketches, adding construction units, generating cost estimates and producing staking sheets on a notebook PC.  And with built-in interfaces, that same data can populate our digital maps and update our Daffron CIS.”

The decision to go with StakeOut, according to Paz, was based on a selection criteria developed by Great Lakes when it began evaluating products.

“Obviously, the software had to interface with existing systems, but a primary concern was that it had to be user-friendly. It needed tools to calculate design attributes such as loading and sizing transformers and wires. There also had to be automatic connectivity checks to make sure the system was connected properly.”

Even before the cutover to advanced mapping and staking, Paz said that Great Lakes Energy understood the productivity gains and improved customer service that could be achieved simply by the reductions in data entry.

“We won’t have to re-draw maps into the mapping system and both the office and field will be able to share data without a lot of re-entry. Saving all that time will allow us to pay for the StakeOut system in less than three years.”  

StakeOut is an application within the Powel WorkStudio suite, a mobile work management platform with office-based analysis that is aimed at helping utilities work smarter through the entire asset lifecycle.  

Great Lakes Energy is Michigan’s largest electric cooperative, serving 125,000 members in over 26 counties across the western half of the Lower Peninsula.