Industry Category



Levin, New Zealand



In order to keep up with the high volume of planned work enquiries, Electra needed to move towards a fully automated ‘Before You Dig’ enquiry process.

Electra owns and operates the electricity lines and assets in the Kapiti and Horowhenua districts located north of Wellington, New Zealand. Locally owned, Electra has distributed electricity to these regions for more than 70 years. With customer numbers of 45,000+, Electra is the 9th largest lines company in the country.

To protect buried utility assets and ensure public safety, Electra operated a semi-automated process using the online service beforeUdig, which enables contractors undertaking excavation works to seek information on the location of utility assets, pipes and cables in and around the proposed dig site and communicate their planned activities with neighbouring authorities and utility service providers.

Electra faced a significant increase over time in enquiries proposing planned works in the area in which they operated and often received up to 15 enquiries a day. This volume placed huge demand on the existing framework and team resources. Enquiries often took 3-4 days to process, which was unsustainable.

Moving to a fully automated beforeUdig solution was a business priority.

The existing beforeUdig enquiry process involved GIS team members performing manual, time-intensive tasks. To improve operational efficiency , Electra engaged Safe Software partner, Locus, who proposed an FME powered, fully automated solution with built-in error detection.

The automated solution process involves processing incoming enquiry emails and creating PDF reports with information about the dig site. The report is then sent to the planned work requester.

Using FME to automate the “Before You Dig” process reduced processing time from an average of 209 requests a month at 156 processing hours to just 4 hours! With reduced demand on staff, GIS team members are free to focus on other value-adding work. This solution has provided Electra with a “Before You Dig” Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest cost.

FME has released our GIS team from days of highly administrative manual processing and enabled them to focus on more skilled tasks that derive far greater value from our GIS systems. The creative solutions, FME technical expertise and energy to collaborate that Locus has brought to this project and others is highly appreciated.

Mathew Cooper, Network Digital Systems Manager, Electra