Xcel Energy – CastNet

Originally posted on 14 Apr 2014

Objective of Project:

Xcel Energy is a utility holding company based in Minneapolis and serves more than 3.3 million electric customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers in parts of eight states. The company operates major generating facilities that use a variety of fuel sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear fuel, water, oil, refuse, wind, and sun.

Safety and effective employee communications are always priorities for power generating plants since accidents at a power plant can be catastrophic. One of Xcel’s plants, the Allen S. King Generating Station in Bayport, MN is using CastNET digital signage content management software to improve safety and employee communications.

Commenting on the CastNET digital signs, Carl Bagley, Manager of Regulatory Administration, said, “We have eight digital signs installed throughout the plant in locations where they are easily seen by the employees, such as the control room, the break rooms, next to the elevators, and in the office areas. The signs are used to primarily communicate all aspects of safety and environment concerns that the corporation wants the employees to know.”

The types of information provided by the signs include safety guidelines, safety hazards, injuries report, environmental concerns, and waste storage and removal. The digital signs are also used to provide information about corporate events, updates, and news items. In addition, the signs are used during the monthly emergency drills to provide information to employees about the type of emergency, where they should go, and what they should be doing during the emergency.

Four employees have responsibility for creating, authorizing, and scheduling content for the digital signs: someone from the Safety Department, someone from the Environmental Department, and two Administrative Assistants. If other employees or the corporate headquarters have information to be posted to the digital signs, it is provided to one of these four people for authorizing and scheduling.

Project Outcome:

One of the most important features of the CastNET system is a customized template designed for the plant by the CastNET creative team. The template includes count-up timers that display two important benchmarks of effective plant operations: Days without Injury and Days of Plant Generation. Special coding was added to the CastNET software so that it is easy for one of the administrators to restart the clock when necessary. Bagley added, “People who visit our plant from other power generating plants are very envious of our CastNET digital signage system. They especially like the count-up timers that automatically display the hours and days since our last injury and the continuous power generation.”