CTSpec Inc

Digital management of video inspections gives Hydro-Québec a new vision of its electrical facilities


Courtesy of Courtesy of CTSpec Inc

Situation And Objectives
2007: Hydro-Québec deploys its Geographic Information System (GIS) to map a portion of its underground network of electrical facilities. While importing the corresponding data, the project team is forced to reckon with the monumental nature of the task at hand, as they come up against incomplete data, unwieldy paper files and non-standardized information. These problems make the project virtually impossible to complete without a major investment in the systematic inspection of every one of its structures – of which there are a total of 3,250.

MD Hydro-Québec therefore decides to explore the solutions at its disposal. One alternative is to have its internal thermal imaging teams survey all of its structures. A project of this scope has an estimated length of 10 years – not to mention the exorbitant cost of mobilizing the internal teams and equipment necessary, and the problems associated with monopolizing the services of qualified personnel to physically enter the structures rather than concentrate on engineering tasks. After a series of pilot projects, Hydro-Québec opts to try the PortaZoom® video inspection system using external teams, supported by a digital data recording and processing system known as CTSpec® Hydrocom.

Within a few weeks, the enormous task of inspecting more than 3,000 structures had begun. The service provider selected for the project, SGS, began inspecting structures using video technologies to assess the congestion level and establish an inventory of cables, videos, observations and measurements. All of the data was recorded by CTSpec in digital format, without any need for further manual processing.

Several times a week, Hydro-Québec received reports and an updated inspection database on DVD. After being subjected to rigorous quality controls facilitated by CTSpec’s viewing functionalities, the information was imported into the GIS system. Concurrently, Hydro-Québec used CTSpec’s custom-development services to optimize its version of CTSpec Hydrocom to include new parameters, such as the capture of GPS coordinates and a modified approach to calculating heights. In a mere three months, all of the required personnel, systems and processes were in place and optimized.


Speed and Productivity
What was supposed to have taken Hydro-Québec 10 years to complete was finalized in only 2. The new operating mode, using video and digital input provided by CTSpec Hydrocom, made it possible to achieve a fourfold increase in the productivity of field crews (15 inspections a day on average, instead of 4). The time required to execute a survey structure for a project was reduced from 1-2 weeks to 1-3 days, with the possibility of same-day reporting in case of emergency.

Inspection data, automatically validated and processed by the system upon capture, proved to be highly reliable and compatible with the established standards. As a result, certain subsequent operations in the quality control and GIS import process could be automated.

Costs Savings
The return on investment was particularly strong in terms of productivity and data quality, as the subsequent processing required by Hydro-Québec’s teams was minimal. As a result, they were able to focus on value-added activities, such as the review of videos and engineering operations rather than travelling to the various sites and physically inspecting the structures in question.

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