Ergon Energy, Brisbane Australia

State wide audit uncovers 60 new types of street lighting and delivers comprehensive street light information
to corporate asset management

Business Challenge
Ergon Energy is one of Australia’s largest electricity distributors providing services to more than 600,000 residential and business users across regional Queensland. Ergon Energy installs and maintains street lights on behalf of local councils and the State Government. To improve cost efficiency, Ergon Energy decided to move from a ‘replace on fail’ strategy to a bulk replacement program to enable more efficient street light replacement.

To implement this strategy, Ergon Energy needed to obtain an improved knowledge of the location, wattage, mounting and types of street lighting across Queensland’s cities and towns. Capturing this information over such a vast area required specialist mapping services, so Ergon Energy turned to Geomatic Technologies (GT) for assistance.

Services Overview
To meet Ergon Energy’s mapping needs GT mobilised a fleet of 2WD vehicles fitted with GT’s Asset Inspection Mapping System (GT AIMS). GT AIMS is a technology platform that can be configured for a wide range of mapping needs and can be installed on a range of vehicles or carried by hand.

The configuration of GT AIMS for Ergon Energy comprised of a differential GPS or Global Positioning System to capture poles to within ± 3 m, data capture software and QA tools. In this way the street lighting along highways and major residential streets in Queensland could be fully mapped and attributed.

Fieldwork was completed over an eight month period. Over 80 towns and 40,000 street lights were visited across a distribution network of over 1,200,000 sq kilometres. Survey data supplied to Ergon Energy’s asset management and Geographic Information System (GIS) division included:
–  Power pole coordinates ID and label.
–  Power pole street address.
–  Street light type, wattage and orientation.
– Street light bracket and control types.
– Street light model, manufacturer and date.

A number of local features at each street light were also recorded to support Ergon Energy’s maintenance programmes for specialist infrastructure such as for pedestrian crossings.

GT was advised to expect up to 40 different street light types throughout Queensland. However, an additional 60 light types were discovered that had not previously been recorded. During the initial stages of the project the GT AIMS data capture software was reconfigured weekly to accommodate any new street light types discovered.

Outcomes
–  The survey enabled the development of an improved  Streetlight Asset Manual that included  the 60 new  street light types not previously detected.
–  The survey delivered improved knowledge of street  lighting locations and attributes.
–  The data captured by GT forms the critical dataset at  Ergon Energy for supporting the major  road patrol maintenance programme.
– The survey delivered well-structured spatial data  that could be imported to Ergon Energy’s  GIS and  asset management systems.
–  The ability of GT AIMS to deal with 60 new light  types proved the flexibility and scalability of  GT AIMS  in meeting clients’ mapping needs.