Case studies

ArcFM UT Implementation at UEM, Metz, France

ArcFM UT Implementation at UEM, Metz, France

AED-SICAD implements ArcFM UT for Electricity and District Heating

UEM is an electricity and district heating provider for the city of Metz in Alsace-Lorraine in the Northeast of France. With an electricity network of 4 500 km, its subsidiary URM supplies approx. 158 000 service points. The service of the group UEM is exemplary – the mean time of electricity outage per customer (TMCA) is only ~15 minutes per year, approx. 5 times lower than the French average and one of the best values in France! The district heating network is about 100 km long, supplying 35 000 service points. Additionally, UEM has built up a fiber optic / coaxial telecommunication network of 800 km length, supplying 9 000 clients with TV and internet signals. Early in 2013, the group UEM has decided to implement ArcGIS and ArcFM UT to document and keep track of these network assets.

Metz has some common historical heritage with Germany. From 1871 until 1914, Alsace-Lorraine belonged to the German Empire. In 1900, 78% of the Metz inhabitants declared German as their mother tongue. Even today, some employees of UEM speak excellent German, but today probably nobody would declare German as their mother tongue. Around the turn of the century, Metz served also as last station for the so-called “canon railway”, a strategic railway line running from Berlin to Metz to supply the by the Germans fortified city with military goods. From this time stems also the railway station, built in 1905 in the Wilhelmian (neo-romanesque) style, one of the best examples of this architectural style. In 1901, also the foundation of UEM was established with the construction of the first thermal power plant.

Esri France and AED-SICAD are implementing this ambitious project jointly. The data from various sources need to be converted. The district heating data were available only in alpha-numerical form, but were very well organized to represent also all hydraulically relevant features. The electricity data are converted from a CAD-style format. The data conversion itself was done by the French company IDS. The data model and configuration was done by AED-SICAD, with the help of its French business partner SIGGIS SAS. Extensive specifications and test cases ensured a stringent quality assurance.

However, the real challenge in this project – besides data migration – was the integration with numerous third party IT systems. The first integration topic which was tackled was the integration with X3 (formerly ABEL), an asset inventory system. Network renewal and proper asset management including depreciation management is one of the key tasks of an utility, which is probably also its most costly task. Knowing that within the GIS all network assets are always updated within very short time, UEM put a focus on transferring inventory relevant information right away to X3. This means that all network assets related to planned maintenance tasks, or investment construction sites, are re-grouped, sub summarized and then sent from ArcFM UT over to X3 using the ArcFM UT Integrator. Network assets related to un-planned maintenance tasks are not transferred. For this data workflow between GIS and X3 to work perfectly, certain standard editing functions within ArcFM UT had to be extended with some custom code: For example, for network lines, which are only repaired, and therefore not transferred to X3, the original line characteristics and lengths need to be stored with the asset.  The ArcFM UT Integrator is responsible for the tasks of comparing the data version edited by the user with the default version in the database and extracting the differential data to be sent over to X3. Furthermore, it is responsible for object mapping, XSLT transformation, monitoring and error resolution. Reports executed both on X3 and ArcFM UT in regular intervals ensure that both databases are in sync.

Speaking about monitoring: UEM uses the open source software Nagios for IT infrastructure monitoring. The web-based GIS information system ArcFM UT Server and its RIA web client give nearly all group UEM employees 24/7 web access to the GIS-based network asset data, with confidentiality restrictions tied to their activity within the group. It is critical to supervise this web map service constantly to prevent any longer downtimes. AED-SICAD here also built a so-called sensor for Nagios so that in the central dash board, the IT administrators can supervise also the web mapping service using a classical street light colouring scheme (green / yellow / red).

A further important requirement was the possibility for UEM to answer in an efficient manner to DT / DICT (“call before you dig”) requests. According to the French regulations, a utility has to answer the “Déclaration de projet de travaux” (DT) of a constructor / awarding authority within 9 working days and supply them a plan of the network assets for the planned construction site. Once the works actually commence, the utility has to answer the “Déclaration d’Intention de Commencement de Travaux” (DICT) of the actual construction company within 7 working days. For this, UEM and URM will use the Click-before-you-dig solution of AED-SICAD, based on latest HTML5 / JavaScript technology, and facilitating the work of UEM and URM greatly.

The proper dimensioning of the network using network calculation programs is another point of concern of group UEM. Again, since the GIS contains all network asset data, it has to provide the source data for the network calculation programs NEPLAN (electricity) and PICALOR (district heating). However, all customer consumption data are not within the GIS, but within the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program “efluid”. efluid is actually a software produced by the UEM company “Efluid”, so UEM is also software editor and sells this CRM software with success to other French utilities. AED-SICAD will transfer in regular intervals all consumption data from the CRM efluid to the GIS using the ArcFM UT Integrator so that now all relevant data for network calculation are available within the GIS. The ArcFM UT NCS (Network Calculation System) will transfer the relevant data to the network calculation packages so that UEM may run simulations and calculations on the actual GIS data.

The system integration with the SCADA “Lynx” used within the MV electricity domain at URM is another important task to obtain certain technical values from the SCADA within the GIS to be able to run simulations. The values are e.g. tension levels, values for short-circuit currents, and technical characteristics of certain nodes. In this context, it is also important to mention that URM will manage three representations of their network: One as-built (typically at a scale of 1:500), one generalized representation (generated with ArcFM UT Generalization to a target scale of e.g. 1:2000) and one orthogonal representation (generated with ArcGIS Schematics, a task executed by Esri France). All representations belong to the same ArcFM UT object.

UEM is in production with ArcFM UT for district heating and electricity including the integration with X3. Authentication for users  - with confidentiality restrictions attached to their profile - happens only once on operating system level due to the connection of ArcFM UT Desktop and ArcFM UT Server with the Open LDAP.

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