Electric Distribution Data Model Overview

Today’s electric utilities are realizing the benefits of GIS technology in the management of facilities for engineering, construction, and operation purposes. The typical requirements of these utilities reflect business needs to:

  • Update GIS databases with design and as-built data.

  • Produce standard and custom map products.

  • Integrate computer-aided design (CAD) drawings with the GIS network.

  • Integrate with other enterprise systems such as work management systems, outage management systems, document management systems, materials management systems, and customer information systems.

  • Analyze installed network for capacity planning and capital improvement projects.

  • Manage feeder system, conduit systems, and inspection operations.

The ArcGIS Electric Distribution Model supports these typical business needs by providing an implementation that focuses on operations and maintenance portions of the facility life cycle and provides a crucial visual component.

The object technology at the core of ArcInfo combines data and application behavior modeling. As a result, the ArcGIS model not only includes an essential set of electric device, structure, circuit segment, and customer information feature classes and properties, but it also includes rules and relationships that define object behaviors. The core object technology and applied ArcGIS electric distribution model result in significantly less configuration and customization effort for overall implementation per site.

The power delivered by electric utilities is transmitted from generating plants to industrial sites and the substations that distribute power to residential and commercial users; the utility business is thus divided into these two areas: transmission and distribution. Transmission networks connect generators to substations through transmission networks. The distribution system delivers power from substations to residential and commercial users. This section covers the aspects of the electric utility business dealing with distribution.

Distribution represents about 35 percent to 50 percent of a utility's investment. The mission of the utility is to provide power to consumers at an appropriate voltage with a certain degree of reliability. Distribution components typically include:

  • Subtransmission circuits with voltage ratings that range between 12.47 and 345 kV

  • Distribution substations that convert energy from transmission network levels to lower primary system voltages

  • Feeders, or primary circuits, that operate between 4.16 and 34.5 kV and supply load to specific geographic areas

  • Distribution transformer typically rated from 10 to 2,500 kVA that transform primary voltage to utilization voltage

  • Secondary circuits that carry current from the transformer along the street

  • Service drops that carry current from transformers to customer point of utilization

Typical primary overhead distribution systems are operated as radial circuits from the substation outward. In overhead systems, structures such as poles and H-frames support the primary and secondary conductors. Surface structures such as pads enclose and protect electric devices on the ground.

The electric utility infrastructure is also composed of devices such as transformers and fuses and circuit segments such as overhead and underground conductors. These components fall into four general logical categories:

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