Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is the largest electric utility in Nebraska, serving roughly 93,000 customers in all or parts of 84 of the state’s 93 counties.
In an effort to bring fiber optic communication to various parts of the state, a communications provider in Nebraska sought to attach their equipment to about 5,000 of NPPD’s poles.
Previously, NPPD had only ever accommodated join-use requests that involved fewer than twenty poles.
With a dramatic increase in attachment requests, the utility found itself under-staffed and in a challenging position of reviewing a high volume of permits to attach to its poles while also ensuring the joint use attachment process did not compromise its grid infrastructure integrity in any way.
“Safety–of our team and the public–is something we will absolutely NOT compromise. If you cut corners on the pole analysis and you allow something to come in that hasn’t been analyzed accurately or appropriately, it endangers the integrity of that pole.”
–Pat Hanrahan, Assistant General Manager of Retail at Nebraska Public Power District
Facing a time-consuming and potentially inefficient process that could result in data gaps and safety hazards, NPPD’s Pat Hanrahan, Assistant General Manager of Retail at Nebraska Public Power District partnered with IKE and decided to require that the communications company come up with a standardized digital process for collecting, reviewing and completing their joint use reviews – the IKE Way.
NPPD ultimately decided to have field data collection teams from the communications companies or their engineering teams use IKE Devices, to acquire the necessary imagery of the utility’s outside plant infrastructure.
NPPD knew that imagery acquired in the field with an IKE Device could be readily uploaded into IKE Office Pro, a cloud-based software platform that takes the data acquired in the field with the IKE Device and creates a consistent and standardized digital twin/pole record that also integrates directly into NPPD’s pole load analysis software, PoleForeman.
The initial pilot program involving a single communications company attaching to 5,000 of NPPD’s poles led to more communications companies working with the utility to bring broadband internet to the Cornhusker State.
With ikeGPS on their side, both the communications companies and Nebraska Public Power District have realized significant gains.
By using IKE Devices and creating a digital twin with integration to the pole load analysis software instead of more traditional methods of field data acquisition, NPPD has attained standardized data which allowed them to successfully track the attachment process, ensuring that all aspects met or exceeded the established safety protocols.
The utility also gained a host of accurate, standardized defendable pole load analysis data about a significant portion of their grid infrastructure.
The communications companies, in turn, were able to attach their equipment in a way that was significantly more efficient from a safety, time, and cost perspective which allowed for them to proceed with bringing fiber optic internet to their customers.
“We have such a high degree of trust with IKE. They’ve shown the capability to perform at a very, very high level. Having that kind of trusted partner is key.”
The use of IKE’s Device, IKE Office Pro software, and their PoleForeman software resulted in a project so successful that NPPD now requires any internet service provider seeking to attach to NPPD’s poles must use IKE’s Grid Infrastructure Integrity Process to do so.
“The amount of time that IKE saved with its streamlined process has not just benefited us, but the [telecommunications] providers as well. We’re in the process of upgrading our guidebook for providers and anything we do today requires the IKE Process.”
Learn more about how IKE Office Pro can help improve grid infrastructure integrityLearn More
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