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FirstEnergy Implements NaviGate Underground Service Alert Module for Comprehensive Underground Locate Solution

Gatekeeper Systems

PASADENA, California — Gatekeeper Systems has announced that FirstEnergy, the operator of the nation’s fifth-largest investor-owned electric system, has begun operational use of the NaviGate Underground Service Alert (USA) as an extension to Gatekeeper’s flagship product for spatial data fusion. The existing system leverages First Energy’s ongoing investments in GIS, OMS, ERP and Reliability Monitoring, and provides the company with a high performance, off-the-shelf office and mobile platform for distributing many differ­ent kinds of critical operational data to thousands of field and office users throughout the organization.  Now, contractors and in-house personnel can automatically receive Locate requests from six different One-Call Centers, efficiently manage tickets, assignments and track results for the entire multi-state service territory. 

Based in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy provides retail energy and related services to over 6 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey.  The company’s asset data, OMS, Mobile data platform and Reliability Monitoring Sys­tems are recognized as among of the most comprehensive enterprise data centers and are noted for stability, scalability, and performance. 

NaviGate is Gatekeeper Systems’ off-the-shelf product. It provides personnel with easy-to-use map-based, portal access to critical enterprise data at asset-intensive organizations.  The software is in use at large and small utilities around the country.

The new Underground Service Alert System gives FirstEnergy employees direct, intuitive, graphical ac­cess to the information they need in order to do their jobs more efficiently. Locate request tickets are automatically collected from multiple One-Call Centers, and assigned to contractors for field marking.  Results are sent back electronically for FirstEnergy records and positive response. Logic and rules built into the USA solution handle all special cases including off-hour, weekend and emergency requests. The system uses GIS asset data to display facilities maps together with real time outage and trouble call data, work orders, vehicle locations, circuit and premise-level reliability metrics, transformer loading, and other key operational information.  For ex­ample, management can proactively monitor distribution circuit reliability and reduce outages by improved planning, including efficient deployment of locators and other field resources more effectively.   The new system will provide FirstEnergy’s Energy Delivery team with improved access to this vital information any­time, anywhere via a comprehensive information portal available 24X7.

NaviGate displays this critical data in many easy-to-use modes, including thematic maps, web-based reports, Excel spreadsheets, and a powerful hierarchical “Area Browser” that provides drill-down and roll-up summaries at the company, crew area, substation, and feeder level.   “This system provides simplified access to critical asset information for operations and situational awareness, and helps us analyze corporate data in a geographical context,” said Noel Couturiaux, FirstEnergy’s IT Business Solutions manager for Energy Delivery.  “Going forward, Locate will no longer be a separate point solution. Having Underground Locate ticket management responsibilities within the NaviGate umbrella allows us to seamlessly visualize Locate tickets, requests and results along with critical data from a variety of other back office and mobile corporate systems.  This will enable better decisions and incremental improvements in service and reliability for our customers.”  

Additional efficiencies can be realized because of the “one-stop shopping” nature of the Navi­Gate solution, which allows FirstEnergy to use the same product to deliver many different kinds of data to many different kinds of users.  Network operators, planners, field engineers, marketing staff, and managers are able to use the system to readily access not only data from active operations business sources, but also customer information, historical outage data, satellite and aerial imagery, as well as field data from numerous mobile applications. 

“We are still completing a bit of fine-tuning but the NaviGate USA solution we have deployed has already dramatically improved system uptime, reliability and overall process as compared to the previous system.  It is helping us unify and stay current with locate requests within our expansive six-state territory” said Steve Schafer, responsible for One-Call and Field Locate for all of FirstEnergy. “NaviGate USA will not only save us money; it will protect our infrastructure and significantly improve operations efficiencies and enhance safety for, field personnel and customers.”

“Universal access to usable data is necessary to improve utility efficiencies and reliability”, according to Phillip Naecker, Chief Engineer at Gatekeeper Systems; “A key asset at FirstEnergy, we discovered, is that the enterprise is already rich in diverse, relevant data sets. Given NaviGate’s ability to accommodate a multitude of heterogeneous data platforms, in order to collect, aggregate and distribute usable information, we’re confident it’s well suited to improve operational efficiencies which will ultimately enhance reliability and service”.  


NaviGate Software from Gatekeeper Systems

Gatekeeper Systems sells configurable off-the-shelf software solutions for utilities and municipalities.  The company’s flagship NaviGate product family is an office and mobile solution for accessing, viewing, and reporting integrated data from multiple enterprise information systems, including Geographic Information Systems, Outage Management Systems, Work Management Systems, Customer Information Systems, Automatic Vehicle Location, and many other data sources.   The system provides a single portal through which the data from multiple disparate systems can be viewed and managed wherever and whenever it’s needed.  Gatekeeper’s solutions integrate smoothly with products and data from many different software vendors.  Visit or 


  Gatekeeper Systems, founded in 1993, Pasadena, California   © Copyright 2005 Gatekeeper Systems. All rights reserved


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