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Dominion Energy Selects EpochField to Improve Field Inspections and Maintenance with Accessible, Reliable GIS Data

Project Summary

Project Type:

Implementation of SaaS-based EpochField GIS mapping for users across eight locations, followed soon by integration with the SAP enterprise system to support work order management.

Number of Customers: 

About 6 million


To equip line workers with easy access to reliable GIS data on field assets and access roads, facilitating inspections, maintenance, and emergency response work.

Solutions Implemented:

EpochField Work Management, EpochField Mobile, EpochField Workflow Builder, and EpochField Administrator

Member Benefits:

Access up-to-date GIS data in the field, with or without Internet connectivity

Obtain and log accurate details about available access roads

Breadcrumb where field crews have completed work and the best route when returning   

Improve situational awareness during field inspections and maintenance work

Dynamically share work order information bidirectionally between EpochField and SAP

Reduce IT workload by moving to a reliable, supported work order management system


Dominion Energy serves an estimated 6 million customers in 15 states, providing reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy to homes and businesses. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, the publicly traded company employs over 17,000 people all committed to providing reliable electricity and natural gas, protecting the environment, and giving back to the communities where they live and work.

When Dominion Energy’s transmission line workers inspect and maintain assets in the field, obtaining accurate information about on-the-ground conditions and maintenance history is a must. But the utility’s existing map application proved difficult to use on site, especially when Internet connectivity is unreliable. To equip line workers with the data to complete their work accurately and safely, Dominion Energy implemented the EpochField Work Management solution and mobile application in December 2023. The success of this project quickly led to a second initiative, which will integrate EpochField and its work order management capabilities with the utility’s SAP enterprise system.

The Challenge: Accessing Accurate GIS Data in the Field

Dominion Energy’s internally-developed GIS mapping application (leveraging Esri Field Maps) posed significant limitations for field workers in the power delivery group.

“Our line workers had to connect to the Internet to download large mapping files to a hard drive and constantly update them to access accurate information about field assets,” said Matthew Rogers, Supervisor, Electric Transmission Lines Operations. “We needed to implement a more dynamic solution that our employees could easily update while they’re in the field doing climbing inspections, preventative maintenance, or emergency response work.” The utility also needed more reliable information about access road location, which is critical in the rural areas where many utility field crews operate.

The utility’s GIS group was talking with Epoch Solutions Group about other needs across the enterprise, so they were the first provider considered to address the digital mapping requirements of the transmission lines operations team. Dominion Energy quickly dismissed the idea of building a new mapping solution in-house in favor of implementing the EpochField platform and mobile application.

Epoch Solutions Group listened to our needs and found a way to bring the solution we needed to fruition,” Rogers said. “We explained what we wanted our line workers to see, and we got everything we asked for.”

EpochField checked all the must-have boxes for Dominion Energy, providing a solution that’s easily configured to their needs (without requiring custom development) and easy to use in the field, with mobile capabilities and the ability to access data both online and

The utility also appreciated that this robust solution would make it easy for field crews to navigate to assets, while providing full visibility into the network structure and available access roads. After talking with EpochField customers and hearing about their exceptional experience with the solution, Dominion Energy was confident in moving ahead.

EpochField: Providing a Modern Solution with Utility-Specific Functionality

Thanks to the intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app, line workers across eight locations in Virginia can access EpochField’s GIS mapping capabilities through their iPads and iPhones. They’re able to work with the GIS mapping application both online or offline to obtain accurate, up-to-date information about utility assets and access roads, with no concerns about Internet reliability.

“If they find a new access road, they can breadcrumb it and the information will update in EpochField dynamically,” Rogers noted. They can also add newfound access roads to the map in EpochField for a more complete view of their work environment. Additionally, the breadcrumb feature enables them to track where they’ve been and document the best route to reach that destination the next time.

“We’ve integrated EpochField with an eNav system that contains all our structure and asset information,” Rogers explained, so a line worker can click on any point on the map in EpochField and get turn-by-turn directions to the site. As a SaaS solution, EpochField has also reduced the IT administrative burden previously required to maintain the internally-developed mapping application.

The Implementation: Smooth and Responsive

Throughout the project, periodic developer meetings and check-ins between EpochField and Dominion Energy’s IT and GIS teams kept everything tracking toward a successful completion on a 10-month timeline. To facilitate a smooth transition, Epoch conducted on-site train-the-trainer sessions for four office-based users, who then trained the transmission line workers.

“The in-person support prior to rollout was especially nice,” Rogers said. “From a project management standpoint, everything just fell into place.”

The Implementation: Smooth and Responsive

The response to the EpochField rollout has been very positive.

“Our line workers like that the EpochField application is basically in their pocket, available on their phone,” Rogers said. They also appreciate that they can provide updated field information to GIS, which reviews it for accuracy and pushes it out via EpochField.

“They like having a hand in the process of moving information from the field to the home office and into the application,” he noted.

Future Plans: Integrating EpochField with SAP

After such a great experience, Dominion Energy is moving forward with another EpochField initiative: Integrating the solution with its SAP enterprise system to improve work order management. The utility has been using an in-house system for field inspection work orders and recognized a tremendous opportunity to gain more robust capabilities and better reliability by using EpochField for this use case.

“SAP is the database for all the details on our assets, including all the work we’ve done on them over 80 years,” Rogers explained. “Being able to exchange that information between SAP and EpochField in a GIS format will provide our teams with better data and improve how they manage inspection work orders.”

The integration with SAP will enable Dominion Energy staff to obtain a visual representation of the area where inspections need to be done, gaining better situational awareness without toggling back and forth between separate mapping and work order applications. And they’ll access much richer historical information about the assets they’re assigned to inspect, gleaning potential clues about why an issue is occurring.

“EpochField will also show them any inspection work orders completed or planned,” Rogers added. If they see a future work order coming up, and they have the time, they can choose to complete the inspection while already at the site.

EpochField’s reliability will prove a further boon, eliminating the IT support required to resolve recurring issues with the in-house work order management application. “It will free our team to focus on other important IT projects,” he noted. The utility expects to have the EpochField/SAP integration live in early 2025.


The EpochField implementation at Dominion Energy underscores the value of leveraging a SaaS solution, purpose-built for utilities, to equip field staff with the data and situational awareness to work effectively and safely. Epoch Solutions Group has transformed transmission line inspection and maintenance at the utility, ensuring the organization can provide reliable power to millions of customers in their service area.

How the Esri Utility Network Transforms Utility Data Management

EpochSync Pro Facilitates Migrating Data to this Powerful Network

As utilities grapple with escalating challenges in a complex and dynamic environment, many are looking to solutions like the Esri ArcGIS Utility Network to simplify data management while ensuring integrity, even across massive data sets.

“Throughout our 15-year relationship with Esri—and now as an Esri Gold Partner—we’ve worked together to identify and solve utilities’ needs, especially by integrating Esri technology with our own suite of solutions,” noted James Street, Epoch Solutions Group CEO. “With the need to manage and integrate data becoming both more challenging and more critical for utilities, we see great value in helping our customers leverage powerful tools like the Esri Utility Network.”

We recently tapped Esri Product Manager Saranya Kesavan to share insights on how the company’s next-generation ArcGIS Utility Network is helping to improve data management amidst transformative change.

New Challenges Make Data Management Vital

Grid modernization has become a high priority across the utility industry, especially as electricity demand rises in response to the shift to clean energy, increased electric vehicle adoption, and a rise in data center power usage to support cloud-based applications. The increase in electricity demand is redefining the power load and tasking utilities with improving energy supply and reliability, according to Kesavan.

“It’s all placing a lot more demand on the grid,” she said. At the same time, climate change is fueling more frequent and severe storms, resulting in more power outages that require utilities to respond quickly and efficiently and maintain high customer satisfaction.

“Challenges like these make a utility’s network more mission-critical than ever, while making data management essential yet more difficult,” Street pointed out. As utilities strive to improve this function, many are moving to the Esri ArcGIS Utility Network.

Setting the Foundation

The ArcGIS Utility Network serves as a system of record that captures data on all utility assets in detail, ensuring that any applications built on the platform can readily access the data required. According to Kesavan, Esri’s network management solution as it is today has evolved over the last 20 years in lockstep with technology advancements.

“Esri’s initial geometric network was robust at the time, but the technology and the industry have changed significantly,” she said. The then-current technology which the network was built on presented inherent limitations, particularly at a time when utilities often maintained data in multiple, disparate applications that didn’t provide a holistic view or enable access to timely, accurate information.

“For example, field crews often lacked real-time information about changing conditions, especially data from downstream applications like their outage management system,” she explained.

As both the technology and the industry’s needs evolved, the Esri network did too. “We considered how utilities are now organizing their data, the workloads they’re managing, and how to future-proof the model,” Kesavan said. With the retirement of Geometric Network, Esri created a next-gen utility network on the ArcGIS Pro mapping and visualization platform.

Integrity, Scalability, and Productivity Top the List

Esri built its new ArcGIS Utility Network to address three common and interrelated needs of today’s utilities: data integrity, network scalability, and network management productivity.

“By using a services-oriented network, utilities can spend less time on tasks like controlling who can access and edit data, improving productivity without sacrificing data integrity or security,” Kesavan said. At the user level, the network restricts data access based on login credentials, while at the network level, rules fire off dynamically as data is edited, triggering error messages that reduce the odds of inputting bad data.

“The network rules can control what type of transformer can connect with what type of conductor,” she explained. “The goal is to ensure the Utility Network is robust and stable, and that it identifies any workflows with potential to corrupt the organization’s data set.” With data volumes growing rapidly within most utilities, the highly scalable network is designed to reduce the strains of day-end processing, ensuring data is clean, up to date, and pushed out to every downstream application, even when large volumes are involved.

The Esri ArcGIS Utility Network also facilitates moving from manual workflows to automated workflows that speed and streamline work, improve accuracy, and leverage the value of digitized data. “For example, rather than draw up a rough sketch of a field installation and send it to GIS team, field crews can capture that information digitally,” Kesavan said.

Managing data in a dynamic environment demands that the utility’s staff has a clear, accurate view of what’s happening in the field at all times. Esri’s Utility Network aims to provide that view through a highly detailed network model and built-in visualization tools that remove visual clutter while keeping data within reach. “Each user can choose the level of detail they need to see,” she said, while authorization measures ensure data security.

Additionally, end users and system administrators can utilize dashboards with embedded awareness of the utility network topology and associations. “Utilities are customizing these dashboards to gain a better understanding of what’s happening in their network at any given time, through a single system of record,” Kesavan explained. The more applications integrated, the more holistic the view. “That enables utilities to identify trends, gather insights, develop mitigation plans to solve problems, and work proactively to prevent them.”

Solving the Dilemma of Getting Data Into the Network

One of the impediments to using the Esri Utility Network is the challenge of migrating data from GE Smallworld Version Managed Data Stores and other GIS databases that store utility transmission and distribution GIS data. Since the data models involved vary significantly, it isn’t always easy to port the data over.

“As more utilities look to leverage the Esri Utility Network for map-based applications like emergency operations management, outage management, and streetlight management, we recognized that the data migration need was becoming more pressing,” Street said.

That’s why Epoch Solutions Group developed EpochSync Pro, a GIS data migration software tool that simplifies the migration of GE Smallworld data to Esri. EpochSync Pro helps utilities harness the full power of the Esri ArcGIS Utility Network by providing a seamless way to synchronize data bidirectionally and accurately between Smallworld Version Managed Data Stores and Esri ArcGIS Enterprise Geodatabases, even for large data volumes. “We specifically wrote this tool in the ArcGIS Pro SDK to fully leverage the value of the network and the ArcGIS functionality on behalf of our utility customers,” Street said.

EpochSync Pro is part of the Epoch Solutions Group suite of solutions, helping utilities leverage the power of GIS data to transform field operations. Contact Epoch Solutions Group to schedule a demo of EpochSync Pro, or contact Esri to schedule a demo of the Esri ArcGIS Utility Network.

Esri User Conference 2024

JULY 15-19, 2024 | SAN DIEGO, CA

Visit with Epoch Solutions Group

Join Epoch Solutions Group in booth 912 for the 2024 Esri User Conference, the world’s largest GIS conference. Join us in discovering new opportunities to streamline your utility field operations with EpochField, leveraging GIS technology and Esri.

With EpochField, learn how you can:

With EpochSync Pro, learn how you can:

Presentation Schedule

The utility industry is undergoing a digital transformation. Companies in this space, whether electric, gas, or telecommunications, face significant changes in their business operations. One of the most critical areas is the need to adapt how field work is managed and operationalized. Epoch Solutions Group will discuss key elements for implementing GIS in your utility field management solution.

Don’t miss our presentation, “A Complete Guide to Field Service Management Using GIS for Utilities,” presented by Software Development Team Lead Paul Lam from Southern California Gas Company.

Wednesday, July 17
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PDT
Room 29 D | SDCC

♥ add the presentation to your Esri Event App schedule!

T&D World LIVE


Visit with Epoch Solutions Group

Join Epoch Solutions Group in booth 600 for T&D World LIVE 2024 to learn about EpochField and future grid distribution, digitization & big data, and more.

T&D World Live aims to unite the industry in addressing evolving grid demands, fostering education, networking, and open discussions, featuring top industry experts. This event, designed by and for utilities, spearheads collaborative efforts to navigate challenges and excel in the evolving energy landscape. Join us for a dynamic, community-driven experience shaping the future of the utility industry.

With EpochField, learn how you can:

With EpochSync Pro, learn how you can:

EpochField 5.2 Release

What's New in EpochField 5.2

EpochField 5.2 introduces new features for data management and administration along with an enhanced user interface, including support for phone format devices. In addition, it migrates the mobile application to the .Net Maui framework to follow some recent Apple App Store compliance issues related to iOS 17 support with the Xamarin framework. A number of bug fixes and performance improvements have also been implemented in both the EpochField Web Suite and EpochField Server components.

The following highlights some of the new features available at 5.2.

Product Highlights

  • Work Management Enhancements: As part of our support for vegetation management workflows, we have made some significant improvements to the work management tool:
    • Streamlined Workflows: Enhanced data collection capabilities simplify processes, reducing administrative time by simplifying data entry and facilitating efficient editing, bulk creation, and deletion of features.
    • Improved Data Accuracy: Enhanced features ensure precise data entry, minimizing errors in records. Personalized work feature filters help tailor data management to specific needs.
    • Enhanced Field Worker Efficiency: Tools like auto-populating form categories and customizable work order filters optimize field worker productivity. Optimized user experience on Toughbooks with stylus support enhances usability in the field.
  • Redesigned Mobile UI/UX
    • Mobile Interface Redesign: Modern and intuitive design for enhanced usability.
    • Engaging Experience: Improved interface boosts productivity and simplifies interactions.
    • Intuitive Navigation: Easy-to-use design for seamless navigation and understanding.
    • Increased Efficiency: Streamlined workflows promote faster task completion.
    • Simplified Interactions: Reduced complexity for improved usability.
  • WMS Inbound Queue Optimization
    • Improved Performance and Stability: Enhancements boost system efficiency and stability.
    • Streamlined Operations: Optimized processes ensure smoother workflow execution for enhanced productivity.
    • Minimized Disruptions: Identified and resolved bottlenecks in the WMS Inbound Queue to minimize work management disruptions.
  • Self-Managed Work Order Process Improvements
    • Work Order Task Upload: A large part of utility field work involves workers planning their own work in the absence of enterprise-driven work order creation. Field workers can initiate ad-hoc work orders and upload CSV lists of assets for completing assignments, such as routine inspections, within EpochField Mobile.
  • Work Order Status Visibility Enhancement
    • Enhanced Visibility: Provides unified visibility into work order statuses for improved operational oversight.
    • Shared View: Ensures all stakeholders have a common, near real-time view of work order statuses.
    • Configurable Status Flow: Provides ability to define statuses and allowed status transitions between statuses on work orders to promote controlled workflows and align with outside systems.
  • Esri ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1 Support
    • Compliance with Esri ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1 software, aligning the platform with industry standards and providing users access to the latest geospatial capabilities.
  • .NET Maui Migration
    • Future-Proof Development: Establishes a solid foundation for future cross-platform mobile development.
    • iOS 17 Support: Migration to .NET Maui addresses recent Apple App Store compliance issues related to iOS 17 support.

Bug Fixes

ID Title
30727 Workflow Form: Navigation button enabled even though there is nowhere to navigate
30823 Omni-present Identify Tool does not reactivate once deactivated
30892 Map Markup: Editing a map markup feature comment appears buggy on iOS
30897 Login button remains active on a fresh install when the application is offline
31069 Inconsistency with the required indicator on the workflow UI
31706 Address search routing needs improvement in UI
31777 Map Markup Attachment view is too large
31926 Support for Composite Locators needed
32249 Rename the title of the Sort Work order filter to: "Choose and order fields to sort by:" from "Choose up to 3 fields to sort by"
32329 When a work order filter is enabled and group visibility is managed, the filter shows as active but is not
32360 Work order filters not functioning consistently
32399 Mobile: Map markup attachments with long names cover the delete button
32407 Work Calendar: Scheduled equipment doesn't display unit number in the resource name
32413 Opening a Work Order without editing causes users to become "stuck"
32414 Print Options: "Map Only" and "Header and Footer" produce the same result
32415 Worker calendar: "Add title" text defaults for an unnamed resource at a specific time
32435 Asset Query Screen: Filtering on date fields fails to generate a workable query
32440 Unable to enlarge Gantt chart in version 5.1
32455 PDF attachment doesn't work when added from Mobile and opened in Work Scheduler
32460 Adding attachment to a work order in Work Scheduler results in inability to open attachment on mobile
32508 Scroll Bar covers buttons
32567 Groups/Roles Currently Assigned are not populating
32570 Assets tab not visible when clicking to View an SDS Work Order
32658 Work Order Dialog: Input validation on existing WO throws a message
32672 Fixing file already exist error
32673 Table EPOCHFIELDUSER creates a new user record every time it goes to the portal
32674 Selecting address suggestions fails to actually select the suggestion
32683 Issues with Sync Fusion controls for iOS and Android
32888 Mobile: Version 5.2 crashes in EFRelationship in models
33042 Omni present tool bug on Google Street View and tracing tools
33072 Unable to create a new worker in Resource Management
33137 Caching Base Workspace Names takes over an hour
33140 Several functions in WMS take several minutes to run or more
33142 Running WMS generates a bunch of empty log files for each tool
33146 Log file purges delete everything in the log folder, not just old logs
33380 script is broken
33526 Remove portal maintenance from WMS
33578 Database after running Archiving/Attachments is missing some views
33581 Work Order List/Filtering Gantt: Issues with colors
33623 EF Data Class doesn't default schema to configured value
33833 Saving color in Schedule Item type saves an "ff" at the end of the hex
33892 Weird and intermittent messages related to out of memory exception while downloading a package more than 200 MB
34087 Gantt Filter doesn't change colors as expected when filtering
34091 Creating child work order from Gantt is inconsistent
34455 Work Scheduler freezes when map configuration to ESRI is not correct
34486 Work management views loading bug
34917 State model processes take a long time to load
34918 Errant character "<" in Processes page
34919 Save Process button
34921 Not able to add states with a hyphen
34923 Should not be able to save a process without transitions
34924 Left align the Process cards
34926 Validation of transitions is too much
34963 Large space between tabs and Event log grid
35014 Data Prep has incorrect scripts for EPOCHFIELDLOG and does not contain EPOCHFIELDSCHEDULEITEMVIEW
35064 Should not be allowed to copy a Schedule Item Process type
35065 Clicking copy on process card creates 2 copies
35067 States are not copied correctly when copying a process
35088 Word Order ID overlaps buttons when adding User History in ad-hoc work order
35091 Duplicate process name validation does not clear
35092 Can't tell which states are duplicate
35093 Copying processes naming is weird
35094 Certain states are required so different products can function
35095 Sort Process cards by name
35096 Editing a state model process should allow for adding transitions and states
35097 Edited process names not showing correctly in process cards
35098 Performance issue when refreshing process cards
35104 State model audit tracking not inserting nulls for nullable IDs
35107 Sort State model dropdown
35109 Each update to WO causes a state audit record to be saved
35112 Deleting all scheduled items does not set the audit tracking correctly
35113 Scheduled item changes are not being audited
35526 Work Order Filter Form freezes when tapping reset to default
35535 Fix known issue with layer toggle colors
35558 System has issues after it has 2000 active work orders
35674 Database Lock
35718 Logs are not uploading to WebApi
35742 Leading or trailing spaces should be trimmed off when updating in Resource Management
35787 Relationship attributes information does not display when the key fields used in the relationship joins are included in the attribute exclusion tags
35822 When closing a work order form, it throws a null reference exception
36416 Blank Dialog When Typing in Workflow Fields
36671 Sync closes the download-only geodatabase in UWP causing null reference errors
36761 Error with null reference on addControl for EventLogs component
36779 Add button not working for Configure state for schedule item types
36789 Saving, Save and completing work flow form throwing object reference error.
36830 Sometimes General Settings adds additional records
37005 Broken Access Control Leading to Privilege Escalation
37007 Non-Standardized Queries: SQL Injection In a Stacked Query Context
39369 WMS/InboundQueue/Maint. not functioning as intended

CEO James Street Joins GISCafe Bunker Broadcast

James Street recently sat down with Sanjay Gangal for GISCafe’s Bunker Broadcast to discuss Epoch Solutions Group’s innovative mobile workforce management software solutions for utilities.

Check out the recording here >

5 Trends That Will Impact Utilities in 2024

The environment that utilities operate in is more complex and volatile than ever, with significant forces impacting the ability to plan effectively and meet every stakeholder’s needs. James Street, CEO of Epoch Solutions Group, reviews the five trends he believes will have a major influence on utilities in the coming year.

1. Climate risks and electrification are stressing the grid.

More frequent and severe storms have become the norm and are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. While hurricanes have always been a concern, convective storms, extreme heat, and wildfires are also on the rise, placing more pressure on the grid. For example, a McKinsey report forecasts that by 2030, Minnesota will see a 75 percent rise in extreme heat days and Colorado will see a 29 percent increase in severe thunderstorm frequency. Almost 90 percent of the western US could experience as many as 30 high Fire Weather Index days annually. And persistent droughts are making it tougher for thermal and hydroelectric utilities to ensure reliable power. With much of the industry’s infrastructure assets well beyond their intended lifespan, extreme weather also becomes more difficult to respond to, resulting in more temperature-induced power line losses and longer power interruptions. The electrification trend and rising data center power use are likewise stressing the grid in ways we couldn’t foresee just a decade ago. As consumers and businesses adopt electric vehicles and favor electric heat pumps, electricity demand is escalating. And as AI, blockchain, and cloud computing become more prevalent, they’re driving up data center power consumption. With seasonal load profiles changing and electricity demand rising, utilities face greater pressure to ensure grid reliability and performance. In this disruptive environment, field asset management and vegetation management become more difficult yet more critical, demanding digitized, flexible platforms that enable utility staff to complete these tasks efficiently and accurately.

2. Grid planning is becoming more complex.

A dynamic and volatile environment will continue to complicate holistic grid planning that’s designed to manage growth, improve reliability, and enhance resilience. For example, dispersed and aging infrastructures, outdated technology, changing regulations, and evolving risks all make it more difficult to plan and manage field assets effectively. That includes assessing and monitoring asset health and risk, managing vegetation risk, and deploying field resources optimally, both for proactive, scheduled work and emergency situations. The increase in bidirectionality is only adding to grid planning complexity. Millions of devices at the edge—including solar panels, electric vehicles, and smart thermostats—are now participating in power generation and impacting grid behavior. This trend will make it more vital, though more complicated, to model and manage utility assets in the context of rising risks, changing customer behaviors, and aging assets. Enhanced modeling and asset management solutions will prove increasingly critical, especially to help field crews work optimally during regular operations and mutual assistance scenarios. With access to real-time information about live and offline assets, utilities can improve asset management planning by empowering field crews with accurate data and enhanced situational awareness.

3. New government policies are posing new requirements for utilities.

While government policy always has the potential to impact utility operations, two of the latest rules from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will likely require utilities to meet new requirements for ensuring gird reliability. One such rule directs the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop a standard around transmission system planning for extreme heat and cold weather conditions. Another requires power transmission providers to report on their policies and processes for conducting extreme weather vulnerability assessments and identifying strategies to mitigate these risks. In addition, several energy policies aim to advance smart grid technology that has the potential to help electricity distributors reduce costs, improve reliability, and meet the challenge of balancing supply and demand. Though there are significant benefits to be realized, developing and implementing smart grid technology will require major capital investments. Many utilities are already moving ahead with smart grid systems that employ two-way communication and intelligent devices, aided by various US Department of Energy grant programs.

4. Government investment is facilitating the clean energy transition, but risks and challenges will remain.

Renewable energy adoption is increasing rapidly, now accounting for about one-fifth of US total power. With world leaders agreeing to new climate goals at the recent COP28 summit, that figure is set to rise significantly. Governments worldwide are providing financial incentives to ease the energy transition for power companies, with the US alone committing billions through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IRA extends and modifies key tax credits for renewable energy investment and production, funds the acceleration of new energy infrastructure siting, and incentivizes carbon capture, while the IIJA is funding infrastructure modernizations that support clean energy expansion and improve resilience. Despite such financial assistance, along with the opportunity that the clean energy transition offers come a host of challenges for utilities. Renewable energy sources can be intermittent, yet consumers and businesses demand stable, reliable power. New energy sources take time to scale, but power demand is rising dramatically. The ability to plan effectively during this critical transition will require enhanced systems and better access to data that can help utilities make informed decisions about deploying and optimizing assets amidst change and unpredictability.

5. The digital technology transformation is helping utilities tackle emerging challenges.

Many utilities are finding that the transformation to digital technologies can help them meet new challenges, address emerging requirements, and adapt to continued change. In particular, they’re shifting away from legacy systems to more flexible and integrated platforms that support new ways of working. The move to cloud-based solutions, GIS-based applications, and digitized field service workflows, along with the integration of disparate systems and data sources, is helping leading utilities leverage data and technology to transform their operations and meet new challenges head-on. In modernizing their technology infrastructure and applications, utilities are prioritizing use cases that demonstrate the greatest tangible value. For example, a geospatial software platform that syncs asset data in real-time across disparate systems, applications, and devices can yield high ROI by giving operations and field teams the visibility and situational awareness to work more efficiently and safely. These digitized platforms also provide access to the data needed to prevent the disastrous consequences of unmanaged vegetation impacting power lines brought down by extreme weather, as well as inspect and manage joint use assets like poles, wires, and circuits to reduce costs and avoid redundancies.

Why Utilities Are Partnering with Epoch Solutions Group

Leading utilities recognize the value of partnering with a solutions provider that can help them meet new requirements and challenges at a time of great change and uncertainty. For many utilities, that partner is Epoch Solutions Group. Our EpochField solution leverages geospatial technology to help utilities improve field asset management, reduce costs, and minimize breakdowns and outages. This geospatial workforce management platform is empowering utilities across the US to meet reliability requirements, enhance safety, ensure power availability, and maintain compliance in a volatile environment. Schedule an EpochField demo to see how this solution can help you meet emerging challenges.
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Digitize Your Utility Damage Assessment with EpochField

When your utility is facing a damage assessment after a storm event, manual collection of data can slow down the effectiveness of your field crews.

EpochField helps utilities collect accurate data and operate more efficiently when it matters the most.

This video demonstrates how EpochField:

  • Replaces the generation of paper maps,
  • Enables real-time scheduling decisions,
  • Improves service response times,
  • Provides online and offline access, and
  • Enables sharing of work order and asset information.

View the Demo

The Latest Impacts of Grid Strain, Microgrids, and Other Trends Affecting the Utility Industry

In January 2023, Epoch Solutions Group CEO James Street met with energy industry forecaster Peter Kelly-Detwiler to discuss the growth of new technology, energy sources, and increasingly complex distribution grids. A lot has happened since then, including more severe weather events impacting an aging infrastructure, the growth of electric vehicles putting more strain on the grid, and increased use of microgrids to help ease the strain.
Peter and James met again in September 2023 to review the trends they have seen throughout the year, the impact they have had on the industry, and how utilities can adapt and thrive by prioritizing proper asset management strategies and technologies. Download the webinar to get insight from Peter on how your utility company can stay at the forefront of the trends affecting the industry and your utility company in the years to come.

Download the Webinar Recording

James Street

James Street
Epoch Solutions Group Founder & CEO

Peter Kelly-Detwiler

Peter Kelly-Detwiler
Energy Industry Thought Leader: Author, Consultant, Speaker

Better Utility Asset Management Starts with These Best Practices

A rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, higher service expectations, dispersed and aging infrastructures, technology constraints, and the shift to renewable energy sources all combine to make it more challenging than ever to deliver service reliably, safely, and profitably. This environment also makes proper asset management more difficult, yet more vital to accomplish.

Asset management helps utilities maximize value while optimizing the resources for necessary repairs and upgrades, replacing the traditional run-to-failure approach. Proactive asset management enables utilities to minimize breakdowns and outages, ensuring continued service delivery, and extending asset life.

By taking a best practices approach to asset management and leveraging digitized asset management solutions, gas and electric utilities can overcome today’s considerable operational obstacles. The following best practices provide a great start.

Define Success

Your utility asset management program should be guided by clear, thoughtful objectives. Most utilities implement an asset management program to reduce costs, improve productivity, minimize the risk of an unplanned outage, and/or extend the life and usefulness of their valuable field assets. Your specific business objectives will drive the key performance indicators (KPIs) you use to track progress against.

Evaluate Processes

Obtain a baseline of your current asset management processes and practices, focusing on what’s working vs what isn’t. Review all asset management standard operating procedures (SOPs), looking for gaps or obsolete procedures that need updating.

Take Inventory

Proper asset management demands an accurate, detailed inventory of every field asset, including its location, size, manufacturer, model, lot number, material composition, installation date, inspection history, maintenance and repair history, current condition, and projected remaining useful life. From there, you can rank the criticality of each asset using an objective scoring method, based on criteria such as how much the network relies on that asset and its importance to service delivery, along with factors like failure types, probabilities, consequences, and costs. The results will inform how you plan and prioritize asset maintenance, repair, and replacement, enabling you to invest in operational improvements with the greatest ROI.

Create a Plan

To deliver the optimal service at the optimal cost, utilities need to acquire, operate, maintain, and upgrade or replace field assets as effectively as possible. And that demands a comprehensive, continually updated asset management plan. The plan should document all your field assets, how you’ll schedule and track their maintenance and repair, how you’ll manage and track budgeted vs actual asset management expenses, risks and mitigation measures for each asset, clear roles and responsibilities, and an asset management lifecycle strategy.

Integrate Your Systems

Disparate legacy systems are common in the utility industry, but they make it tough to manage field assets proactively and strategically. Because they often store data in different formats and don’t share it seamlessly, it’s difficult to gain visibility into accurate, real-time information to direct repair and maintenance efforts. And without that information at their fingertips, field crews waste time contacting operations for the necessary details.

A solution that utilizes geospatial software can improve integration by syncing asset data in real-time across systems, applications, and devices, equipping operations teams and field staff with the visibility and situational awareness they need on the job. Platforms that integrate field asset data into critical GIS solutions, as well as mission-critical business applications from providers like SAP and Oracle, prove most effective.

What to Look for in a Digitized Field Asset Management Platform

To unlock the value of proactive asset management, many utilities are adopting geospatial technologies that digitally capture and track asset data, optimize asset performance, improve compliance, and boost efficiencies. By combining automated workflows and map-centric interfaces—and sharing data across back-office servers, cloud-based applications, and mobile apps—a digitized field asset management platform helps the operations team dispatch, schedule and deploy field crews efficiently and gives field crews the situational awareness to complete their work quickly, accurately, and safely.

Before investing in a digitized utility asset management platform, consider which features and functionalities will most help you streamline work, improve efficiency and productivity, and reduce costs. Most utilities find the following essential:

  • A single platform that drives field asset maintenance, repair, and tracking
  • Ease of configuration to match their specific needs
  • Scalability to any size or type of utility
  • Dynamic, interactive maps that provide a full view of field assets and supporting details
  • Intuitive functionality that speeds and simplifies customized workflow and work order creation
  • Flexibility to develop maintenance schedules based on skills, proximity, availability, training and certification requirements, and other criteria
  • Access to real-time data online and offline to support remote locations
  • Enterprise data integration for easy access to asset and resource data across the technology ecosystem and data sharing across systems, applications, personnel, and locations

Why More Utilities are Choosing EpochField

For many gas and electric utilities, the field asset management platform of choice is EpochField from Epoch Solutions Group.

EpochField leverages geospatial technology to help utilities improve field asset management and maintenance, reduce costs, and minimize breakdowns and outages. Our digitized asset and field management solution provides operations teams with real-time situational awareness to optimize how they deploy field crews to inspect and repair utility field assets and manage vegetation. Utilities that use EpochField are positioned to deliver the service today’s customers demand, while ensuring safety, maintaining compliance, and gaining full asset traceability.

Download our detailed Guide to Deploying an Effective Asset Management Strategy. Or contact Epoch Solutions Group to learn how EpochField can transform how your utility manages your valuable field assets.

Best Practices for Improving Utility Asset Management

Best Practices for Improving Utility Asset Management: A Guide to Deploying an Effective Asset Management Strategy

It’s never been a more challenging time to run a thriving, profitable utility company. From rapidly evolving regulations and escalating consumer service expectations to aging infrastructures and disparate legacy systems, utilities face significant operational obstacles in their quest to deliver power reliably, safely, and profitably. These challenges make proper asset management more vital than ever, yet more difficult to accomplish.

This guide is designed to help. It reviews the industry trends that are placing greater pressure on utility operations, the ways in which asset management solutions can help overcome those challenges and support a utility’s most critical business goals, the best practices that can help your organization manage assets more effectively, and how a digitized solution can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your utility asset management efforts.

Download the Guide to Learn:

  • Trends and regulations impacting asset management for utility companies today
  • The vital role that asset management has on a utility’s operating expenses and capital expenditures
  • A five-step best practices approach to utility asset management
  • How a digitized field asset management platform can help streamline work, improve efficiency and productivity, and reduce operating costs

Download the White Paper

To Migrate GE Smallworld Data to Esri, Utilities like BC Hydro Turn to EpochSync

Many utilities struggle to utilize their GIS data effectively across the enterprise, especially when that data resides within GE Smallworld. With more utilities looking to leverage the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Utility Network to gain more functionality—especially for huge datasets—the ability to migrate Smallworld data to the Esri platform is becoming a must.

So when BC Hydro faced limitations in the tools it could use to work with its transmission and distribution GIS information effectively, the company knew it was essential to make its Smallworld data accessible on Esri.

As IT Advisor Evan Schwab noted, “Other business groups in the company, like our power generation group, were using Esri for GIS data. While we currently have two GIS systems, we’re looking to develop new capabilities on the Esri platform going forward.”

Eager to gain ready access to the GIS data required to provide reliable service to more than 50 million customers, BC Hydro turned to Epoch Solutions Group’s EpochSync automated data migration tool. This scalable solution synchronizes data between Smallworld Version Managed Data Stores and Esri ArcGIS Enterprise Geodatabases, enabling even the largest utilities to easily migrate Smallworld data to an Esri geodatabase.

Once the initial synchronization is done, EpochSync only needs to perform periodic data synchronizations, ensuring just the incremental data changes are synchronized. And through a .NET-based user interface and Smallworld Magik components, EpochSync makes it easy to develop flexible mappings that support data syncing between different data models, empowering a utility’s staff to create those mappings to extract data with minimal training.

At BC Hydro, EpochSync provides a “set it and forget it” solution that runs nightly and is easy for internal staff to configure and maintain. Now, this British Columbia-based utility can use tools like ArcGIS Story Maps to develop distribution planning maps and share GIS data with external groups to provide much-needed situational awareness when major events happen.

Read the BC Hydro case study to discover all the business benefits that EpochSync provides for leading utilities.

EpochField 5.1.4 Release for Mobile

We are thrilled to unveil the latest version of our mobile app, EpochField Mobile 5.1.4. Our developers have been dedicated to optimizing the field user experience and have implemented numerous improvements to enhance the app’s performance and efficiency. We take pride in providing our clients with a reliable product, and EpochField Mobile 5.1.4 is no exception. Discover the exciting changes we’ve made by reading below.

The products team at Epoch Solutions Group has been busy working on a few new enhancements and updates to EpochField for iOS, Android, and Windows. EpochField 5.1.4 can be found in the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Microsoft App Store today.

Ease of Use

Previously, the app would switch to Pan mode once a tool was closed; now, users can close the tool menu and still make edits on the map, freeing up screen space. Users can now save Operation Layers visibility settings. Map Markup has been improved to allow users to better see and understand the tool’s interface. With this update, users can download multiple files within each region, as well as delete all downloaded data files without encountering any error messages. EpochField Mobile now notifies users when the offline geodatabase syncs successfully.


Routing and Geofencing

Our latest updates have made asset management more streamlined and efficient for users. The Identify tool now includes routing functionality, enabling users to quickly locate the desired asset and access directions. Search results are now displayed in order of relevance, and accurately rendered on the map. Geofencing and GPS location updates have been optimized, allowing users to minimize the app without losing progress. Additionally, GPS Breadcrumbs are now limited to the selected work order, while the newly added Compass Navigation feature keeps the user’s location centered on the map during Follow Me mode. Finally, users can utilize Lat/Long results from the Address Search feature for routing purposes and can easily copy and paste the information directly from the app.

Identify and Asset Research

We’ve made several improvements to streamline our search functionality. Users can now seamlessly scroll through search results without the need to update their criteria, and toast messages are now displayed even when the Search Bar is open. We’ve also resolved the issue of objects hidden by Operation Layer options appearing when lassoing assets in Identify, and have corrected the object counts for Asset Search and Identify. To improve the user experience, we’ve added new configuration options that allow users to zoom to the map extent of search results instead of solely focusing on the first result in an Asset Search.


Tracing has been enhanced for both performance and ease-of-use. Not only do users experience faster results, the tracing user experience has been upgraded with customizable field ordering and the ability to view multiple types of assets. Additionally, we’ve enhanced the tool’s functionality, allowing users to easily share CSVs generated by the Tracing Tool.

Phone Specific

We’ve made significant improvements to EpochField Mobile to optimize its use on phones and other mobile devices. Phone users will notice that the scale and extent buttons remain visible even when the tool menu is collapsed, and we’ve redesigned the menu to minimize interference with native phone buttons like “Back” or “Home.” The menu now opens at half the height of the phone screen, providing a more streamlined viewing experience. In addition, phone users can now easily access Print Previews, allowing for quick and easy sharing of results.

Feedback and Support

We value your feedback! If you have any questions, suggestions, or experience any issues, please contact our support team at

Thank you for your continued support and trust in EpochField mobile. We believe these enhancements will greatly improve your experience. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the future!

Overcoming the Challenges of Managing Utility Joint Use Assets

The modern world is changing rapidly, and the technologies and infrastructure that support it must evolve alongside it. This is especially true for utility companies, whose infrastructure must keep pace with changing demands and new technology. One area that has become increasingly important for utilities in recent years is joint use asset management.  

Joint use assets refer to the infrastructure components that multiple utility companies share, such as poles, wires, and conduits. They offer a range of benefits for utility companies, including cost savings, increased flexibility, and reduced infrastructure duplication. However, managing joint use assets comes with a unique set of challenges that can significantly impact the efficiency and reliability of the utility network. This article reviews the challenges of joint use assets—including overloaded poles, double poles, unauthorized attachments, conflicting needs, and regulatory compliance issues—and offers viable solutions.

Overloaded and Double Poles: Inventory is Key

Overloaded poles are a common problem with joint use assets, and they occur when too many companies attach their equipment to a single pole, exceeding its weight-bearing capacity. This can cause the pole to lean or even fall, leading to power outages, property damage, and safety hazards. Overloaded poles also make it difficult to perform maintenance and repair tasks, as it can be difficult to identify which company is responsible for the excess weight on the pole. 

Conducting regular inspections and assessments of the poles helps identify any signs of overload, allowing utility companies to proactively address an issue before it leads to a safety hazard or outage. Additionally, utility companies can work together to develop load-sharing agreements to ensure that the weight on each pole is evenly distributed among the companies using the infrastructure.

Double poles are another issue that arises when a utility operates joint use assets. Double poles occur when new poles are installed next to existing poles rather than replacing them, resulting in two or more poles serving the same purpose. Aside from the fact that double poles can be unsightly, they pose a safety hazard and make it difficult to access and maintain the equipment, increasing the risk of power outages and other issues.

One solution to this common joint use asset problem is to conduct a comprehensive inventory of all existing poles and infrastructure to identify where double poles exist, enabling utility companies to prioritize which poles to remove or replace first. Utility companies also can work together to develop joint programs to replace double poles with a single pole that meets the needs of all companies involved.

Policies, Collaboration, and Training Are Essential

Unauthorized attachments are another significant problem for joint use assets. Attaching equipment to joint use assets without proper authorization or approval can create safety hazards, reliability issues, and regulatory compliance problems. Unauthorized attachments can also interfere with the equipment of other utility companies, leading to service disruptions and other problems.

One effective way to reduce or eliminate unauthorized attachments is to develop and enforce clear policies and procedures for attaching equipment to joint use assets, including guidelines for when equipment can be attached, who can approve the attachment, and what equipment is allowed. Utility companies also can use advanced analytics and monitoring tools to identify unauthorized attachments and proactively address them before they become a problem.

Managing joint use assets can also present broader challenges. Conflicting needs are a common problem when multiple companies use the same infrastructure. For example, one company may need to access a pole to install new equipment, while another company may need to perform maintenance on the same pole at the same time. Managing these competing objectives can be a complex and time-consuming process, often requiring significant coordination and communication between the companies involved. 

To resolve conflicting needs for joint use assets, utility companies should develop collaboration tools and processes that allow multiple providers to work together more effectively. These tools can include shared communication channels, such as online portals or chat groups, where companies can coordinate their activities and schedules. Additionally, utilities can develop joint work plans that identify which tasks need to be completed and when, allowing them to better coordinate and schedule their activities.

Regulatory compliance is another area that utility companies must contend with when managing joint use assets. Utilities must comply with a range of regulations and standards, including safety standards, environmental regulations, and industry-specific guidelines, and failure to comply can result in fines, legal liabilities, and damage to the company’s reputation.

To ensure joint assets are managed in a way that complies with applicable regulations, each utility company should develop its own robust compliance program that includes regular audits and assessments to identify any areas of non-compliance. The program also should include training for employees and contractors to ensure they understand the regulations and standards that apply to joint use assets. Additionally, utility companies can work together to develop joint compliance programs that ensure all companies using the infrastructure are meeting the relevant regulations and standards. 

How an Asset Management Platform Can Help

Despite these challenges, joint use assets continue to be an essential part of the utility industry. Given the clear benefits of shared infrastructure, utility companies are finding innovative ways to address the difficulties associated with managing joint use assets.

One way that leading utility companies are successfully managing joint use assets is through the use of an asset management platform like EpochField. With EpochField, utility companies can gain visibility into the condition of joint use assets, such as overloaded and double use poles, along with the real-time situational awareness to manage unauthorized access, ensure safe and reliable power delivery, and meet the regulatory mandates governing the industry.

Highly configurable to meet each utility company’s unique operational requirements, EpochField offers these and other advanced features: 

  • Mobile offline collection and viewing of asset data for field personnel who are often working in remote locales, without an Internet connection 
  • High-performance digital maps that display geospatial data holistically and dynamically update as the system processes new data 
  • Configurable work order forms that are produced automatically based on field mapping data 

Discover how the EpochField platform can transform your utility’s joint use asset management. Schedule a demo today.

Schedule a Demo

Managing Utility Field Service Digital Transformation into the Next Decade: Featuring Industry Expert Peter Kelly-Detwiler

It’s evident that the utility industry will undergo a significant digital transformation over the next 10 years. How will the convergence of new technologies, new energy sources, and an increasingly complex distribution grid affect utilities in the coming years? And how can you assure your field services teams are prepared to work as safely and efficiently as possible in this rapidly evolving environment?

This was the focus of our recent webinar, Managing Utility Field Service Digital Transformation into the Next Decade. This exclusive conversation, hosted by Epoch Solutions Group founder and CEO James Street, featured Peter Kelly-Detwiler, an acclaimed thought leader in the energy industry and a highly sought speaker, author, and consultant. Peter regularly advises energy industry leaders on the latest trends and how these developments will impact their organizations.

Insights on a Future Filled with Change

During this interactive webinar, Peter and James discussed the tremendous changes on the horizon for the utility industry, how these shifts will affect the work of field services teams, and the tools and technologies that field crews will need in order to operate safely and effectively.

A key topic was the projected impact of the industry’s move toward the “three Ds”— decarbonization, digitalization, and decentralization—three trends that will make the distribution grid increasingly dynamic and complex.

For example, Peter and James reviewed how escalating climate risks are creating greater pressure to improve vegetation management and facilitate the work of out-of-state crews during the increasingly frequent and prolonged weather-related outages. They discussed the ways in which the continued move to solar and other renewable energy sources—along with the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and the evolution to vehicle-to-grid (V2G) EVs—will make the grid more data intensive and more challenging to manage. And they outlined how these transitions will impact field crews working in low-voltage environments, creating a need for technologies that provide better situational awareness and a more accurate picture of the facts on the ground by integrating local system modeling and real-time updates.

Get More Insights

This engaging webinar offered a glimpse into the future of the distribution grid and what the utility field crews of tomorrow will need in order to complete their jobs efficiently, effectively, and safely. We invite you to download the webinar recording for insights on the trends that are already beginning to impact your utility field crews. 

Schedule a demo to learn how the EpochField mobile workforce management solution can help.

Schedule a Demo