Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) is an 82-year-old Colorado-based rural electric association with roughly 170,000 customers over 5,000 square miles of diverse territory, from cities to mountain towns to ranches. The tightly staffed utility relies on Vertical Asset Manager Mike Surran to handle most joint use issues. For years, Surran says, IREA used paper logs to track its own assets and other companies’ attachments to the assets. The staff used emails to communicate with the attaching companies and often added printouts of the emails to the joint use binders.
Even before the recent boom in joint use activity caused by the 5G rollout, Surran saw that IREA’s joint use management system was impractical and needed to be replaced. The number of assets and attachments had grown too large to track adequately on paper. The research required to process a joint use request took too long, and sometimes important questions were difficult to answer.
Another company suggested Surran and IREA check out Alden. They liked what they saw and implemented Notify™, the predecessor to Alden’s current Alden One® joint use management platform. The new system provided the benefits they were looking for, as well as others they hadn’t anticipated, Surran says.
For starters, Alden enabled IREA to store asset data where it could be quickly and easily accessed. As a result, all joint use operations, from research to permitting to communications and billing, were sped up and simplified. As a result, questions can now be answered with confidence, and deadlines can be met.
A major advantage of Alden One is that Alden understands the needs of both asset owners and attaching companies, and the platform is designed to help mediate the issues that arise in joint use, Surran says. Every interaction produces an electronic record in Alden One.
The system also streamlines internal communications among departments at IREA, including engineering, operations, GIS, and consumer services.
IREA found Alden’s services as impressive as its software. A team, including Alden CEO John Sciarabba, traveled to Colorado to meet with IREA employees and answer questions about the system. New questions that arise always get a quick response from Alden’s support staff. And an asset audit performed by Alden identified about 1,200 attachment violations, most of which have already been corrected.
Getting in Sync
Whether it’s paper and email or Excel files and Word documents, older methods of tracking assets and attachments can’t keep pace with today’s joint use reality. As IREA and Mike Surran discovered, joint use doesn’t have to be a miserable job. The right tools and the right partners can make it a manageable, mutually beneficial process.
This case study offers a closer look at the ways IREA used Alden One to become a smoother operation. If you’re looking for a joint use solution that can deliver similar benefits for you, book a meeting here. In these dynamic times, we can help you meet the needs of today and tomorrow.