Research conducted by Newton-Evans Research Co. between April 12 and May 30, 2012, produced findings from 68 respondents, which included 77 utilities (55 North American utilities and 22 international utilities). Responses from nine consulting engineers provided an insight into their substation software design needs.

Respondents to the survey included management decision makers (directors and managers), supervisors, lead engineers and engineers. About half of all responses to the survey included feedback from managers or directors.

Utility officials were asked whether they perform their own substation design work in-house using a generic CAD application, a substation-specific design application, or whether they outsource this work to a third party. An overwhelming majority (73%) of the utilities that perform all or some of this work in-house indicated they use a generic CAD application. This includes utilities that use both types of software (5%) and utilities that use generic CAD and also outsource (10%).

Among the 77 participating utilities, only two utilities in Europe currently use a substation-specific design application exclusively. Three other utilities use both generic CAD and substation-specific applications. Eight of the nine consulting engineers only use a generic CAD application. The other one uses both types.

Five of the 24 utility directors/managers currently using a generic CAD application indicated an interest in purchasing a substation-specific design application in the future.

The majority (90%) of utilities and consultants indicated their current design tool does not generate reports for cost estimating, equipment ordering and asset management. However, when asked if they had access to a tool with this capability, about 75% of respondents indicated that it would produce significant project cost savings by reducing the time spent creating reports, reducing the time to update reports when design changes occur and improving report accuracy.

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