The Utilities Standards Forum (USF) is an organization representing about 50 Ontario electricity distribution companies. Its goal is collaboratively to define standards for its members to reduce duplication of effort.
The USF has developed design standards for electricity distribution that meet the requirements of Ontario Regulation 22/04 under the Electricity Act of 1998. Currently these are in the form of paper or PDF documents containing 2D isometric views of the components used in electricity distribution such as insulators, clamps, surge arrestors, fuse-cutouts, terminations, cross arms, cable guards, and other types of equipment.
There is pressure to move to 3D design standards. There are several motivations for this. In this time of the challenge of an aging workforce in the utility industry, increasing the efficiency of engineers and designers is an important motivator. But another equally important one is the increasing number of younger designers and engineers that have been brought up in 3D digital world and want to work in a modern 3D environment.
At the EDIST 2013 Conference in Toronto an overview of the new 3D design standards was presented by Ron Lapier and Lori Gallauger of the USF. The new 3D standard is a major step forward in two ways. First of all the components required for electricity distribution design are now 3D so that electricity distribution design can be performed in a 3D environment. But equally important USF intends to make them available digitally in the form of a library of DWG files containing 3D objects that can be brought into a 3D CAD environment and integrated with other components to create a completely 3D representation of an electricity distribution design. The design can be viewed and manipulated in 3D. As well 2D drawings for construction can be generated from the 3d model. The components have real world coordinates so that clearances and dimensions can be directly measured from the 3D model.