IntelliTect Today: Smart Meters for the Inland Northwest

Smart Meters

Since 2006, IntelliTect has been a custom development partner for Avista Utilities. We have been a strategic collaborator in the development and project management of a long-awaited customer portal that will bridge the communication gap between Avista, their customers, and the community they serve.

The integrated Avista team celebrates a successful “Go Live” event in October.
Photo Credit: Heads and Tails Photography.

Avista’s most recent project was a joint effort with their contract companies – IntelliTect being one of them. It spanned over two years and involved over 125 employees across 20 integrated teams. The project was centered around meter data management (MDM) and laid the groundwork for the larger initiative to leverage technology for smart meters.

This new system greatly improves their service order management by deciding what requests require a truck to be rolled to the site and which can be done remotely. It puts the infrastructure in place for smart meter applications. If something goes wrong at a site, they can now turn the power off remotely and instantaneously. Avista now has the ability to analyze data to save their customers money. They can review power usage and determine if a neighborhood truly needs the amount of power they’ve been receiving, and adjust it accordingly.

Early on in the project, the integrated team was struggling with the management of all the project environments and were stuck using spreadsheets and pipeline diagrams as their management tools. Avista’s project manager, Candace Smallfoot, enlisted Grant Erickson’s team to develop a product that streamlined the management process. Our Myriad software solution was born out of this request.

 

 

Myriad provides project planning, team coordination, a repository of information, and keeps an organized dashboard with the status of environments. It can be used in all phases of planning, deployment, testing and monitoring of software. Without the Myriad tool, Go Live communication and productivity across teams would not have been as smooth as it was.

We continued to develop several tools over the course of this project that have become a standard of excellence at Avista.

  • Carbon – IntelliTect’s custom product that can clone accounts within and across environments while saving time and resource dollars.
  • Trellis – IntelliTect’s custom program designed to compare, snapshot, and migrate information between applications and across computers.

These programs provided communication efficiency throughout the project and have made a huge impact to productivity.

The integrated project team worked tirelessly on multiple projects to create this new MDM system. When it was time to cut over to the MDM application, the Go Live event spanned three full days involving many resources that worked multiple shifts to complete the 238 tasks utilizing Myriad and Myriad Chat. There were over 1,800 messages in Myriad Chat for this event.

The Go Live event “went spectacularly – better than the business was counting on – and a lot of that was owed to Myriad as our coordination platform,” said Allen Monroe, one of three Go Live team managers on the project.

We were fortunate to work with several brilliant minds at Avista and were thankful that Mike Mudge was our esteemed program manager. “Mike’s calming steady guidance, as well as his sacrifices of time, energy, and sanity have shown his unwavering support for his team throughout the entire process. Not only is Mike a savvy leader who leads by example up and down the stakeholder’s chain with credibility and respect, he is also an incredible technical champion with great understanding of the ET Systems needed to be successful,” said Anne Beard, MDM project coordinator.

Next year, Avista will begin replacing over 400,000 meters with smart meters. We look forward to continuing to provide technical leadership, architecture, and integration services for Avista over the coming years.

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