Nov 14, 2011

McKenzie Electric Cooperative Selects Powel Inc.'s Configurable StakeOut Engineering Software

North Dakota Co-Op expects automated system to cut design time by 90 percent.

Powel, Inc., a leading developer of software that helps utilities work smarter, recently announced McKenzie Electric Cooperative (MEC) selected its StakeOut® mobile field design client.

StakeOut, the industry-leading field design software, will enable McKenzie Electric to automate its current system, improve customer service and data accuracy and update its NISC Accounting and Business Solutions (ABS) suite and Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) based maps. The North Dakota-based co-op expects to achieve substantial savings in time – both in the field and office – and total cost.

StakeOut users can remotely design new job sketches, add construction units, generate cost estimates and worksheets, edit job sketches and units to reflect as-built changes while using a built-in rule base to ensure design standards are met.

McKenzie Electric has more than 2,400 members spanning six counties in North Dakota and two in Montana. The utility annually constructs approximately 200 miles of line, which was a key factor in seeking an automated system. “Our goal was to reduce our cost for construction,” said John Skurupey, General Manager and CEO of McKenzie Electric Cooperative. “We evaluated all of the packages that were out there, and we were unable to find a product that was going to work for McKenzie Electric. Powel took the initiative, saw what we wanted, and they created exactly what we were looking for.”

Powel collaborated with Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc. (TPS) to incorporate McKenzie Electric’s unique requirements and produce a solution with customized capabilities. With this software, McKenzie Electric design personnel can accurately stake each structure of a line within one-half of an inch of the designated target. The software also directs the utility’s design personnel to a straight line between any two points and provides elevation change and distance from the last structure, and it directs the design personnel to any anchor locations.

“This new software will allow the utility to reduce its worksheet development time by an estimated 90 percent,” said Skurupey.

The StakeOut software will be integrated with McKenzie’s geographical information system (GIS) application and is scheduled for installation in winter 2012.

StakeOut is just one part of the WorkStudio suite, which includes applications for outage recovery, vegetations management, mapping and more. WorkStudio is a mobile work management system that helps utilities work smarter through the entire asset lifecycle.