Barrow Utilities & Electric Cooperative
Davey Resource Group used boots on the ground and hybrid vehicles to inventory Barrow Utilities and Electric Cooperative’s distribution system during the community’s midnight sun season.
Utilities like electricity and the internet have become an integral part of everyday life, and rural communities expect the same access and reliability as customers in higher population areas. Most rural communities are powered by electric cooperatives, which, according to the NRECA, power over 21 million businesses, homes, schools, and farms in 48 states.
Barrow, Alaska, known as the northernmost community in America, is the economic center of the North Slope Borough. The city of Barrow provides support services to oil field operations with their local shops and food vendors, and attracts tourism because of its midnight sun. With so many communities reliant on the city’s economic support, Barrow needs dependable utility infrastructure.
Davey Resource Group (DRG)’s relationship with Barrow Utilities and Electric Cooperative began with a former director who previously worked with DRG. When Barrow Utilities needed help creating a connectivity model of their infrastructure, they called on DRG’s expertise.
DRG sent a two-man crew from Iowa to perform a comprehensive inventory of Barrow Utilities’ distribution system. With the help of gas/propane hybrid vehicles provided by the utility to navigate the remote service area, the crew collected inventory data on foot. The data was mapped using Mapwise, a National Information Solutions Cooperative product.
DRG collected data on 23 overhead miles, 2 underground miles, 1,755 poles, 2,023 meters, and 91 underground features using rugged field computers. The crew worked on the project between July and August 2022, a timeframe that was chosen to avoid Barrow’s 24 hours of darkness in the fall.
Once the data was collected, DRG was able to build a connectivity model of Barrow Utilities’ distribution system. The connectivity model will help with outage management and engineering analysis to reinforce the utility’s reliability.