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Cutting Edge IT System Wins Vector Awards Finalist

News release
15 May 2002


Cutting edge IT solutions that deliver major customer benefits has secured VECTOR*, Auckland's electricity network, a finalists' place in the'ComputerWorld Excellence Awards'.

VECTOR is one of three finalists selected for the "Excellence in the Use of IT to Support Decision Management" award category.

VECTOR's entry focuses on how the company developed a GIS (Geographic Information System) that allowed information from a number of previously independent systems - customer management, network management and financial management - to be integrated into a single decision-making framework. From this, VECTOR is able to produce more complete and accurate information to help take the guesswork out of decision-making which, in turn, is providing significant benefit to its customers."

"When we began operating as VECTOR four years ago, we made a conscious decision to move away from being a traditional 'network-centric' organisation to a 'customer-centric' one," said VECTOR chief executive Dr Patrick Strange. "Given we are one of only a handful of lines companies (out of 29) in New Zealand who has taken this path, it required a fundamental shift in thinking, not just in terms of engineering but also in regard to our IT strategy.

"As one of New Zealand's largest electricity networks, we are committed to developing innovative, best practice solutions that benefit our customers and help lead the industry forward. Our entry details how we applied that philosophy and, in the process, pioneered a ] new network management system that allows us to work smarter, faster and ensures our customer's needs are put first."

One of most significant benefits the system integration has provided to date relates to the company's ongoing vision to reduce the number and duration of faults to achieve a more efficient network. The newly integrated network management system combined fault cause data, network information, cost and operational restoration performance data together before then overlaying geographical data to determine areas most prone to interruption in the network.

"This has been of great benefit to us, in terms of how we review and prioritise work in our network as it eliminated all the guesswork and allowed us to concentrate on developing solutions in those areas causing the most disruption to our customers. "

VECTOR's SAIDI** figure (an industry wide index that measures the average duration of power outages) has fallen from 130 minutes for the year end 1998/1999 to just under 60 minutes for the last three years in a row. This compared to the industry SAIDI average in 2001 of 212 minutes (PricewaterhouseCoopers '2001 Information Disclosure Compendium). At the same time, VECTOR's customer satisfaction scores have improved more than five points, a significant shift in such a short time period.

"While our progress has been significant, we still have a long way to go in terms of network efficiency, and the integration of our IT systems is just one of the tools we will be using to help us towards our ambitious targets." The 'Computerworld Excellence Awards' were initiated five years ago to showcase the high tech IT sector and to recognise the contribution IT playsin growing New Zealand businesses. According to the organisers, the number of companies entered this year has risen by more than 25 percent onpast years and this, coupled with the constantly improving quality of entries, made the task of selecting finalists a difficult one.

Winners will be announced on June 28.

Editors Notes:

* VECTOR is Auckland's electricity network. Our job is to deliver a safe and reliable power supply to more than 236,000 homes in Auckland, Manukau and parts of the Papakura District.

** SAIDI - System Average Interruption Duration Index. An industry wide index that provides a comparison of network reliability between electrical lines companies.

ends For further information, please call: Charlene White Communications Project Manager Ph: (09) 978 7638

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