How the City of Calgary maintains accuracy and safety using AssetWorks FuelFocus
In Calgary, the folks who work for the City’s fleet services department have an added incentive for monitoring fuel usage on a daily basis: they could be held financially and criminally accountable for negligence in the event of a fuel leak. “When you know you could lose your house because of poor record keeping, you’re a lot more careful,” says Gordon Martin, manager of fleet services.
That’s one reason the City deployed a very comprehensive implementation of FuelFocus from AssetWorks. Besides monitoring for fuel leaks electronically, FuelFocus provides a very flexible and convenient method for City employees to fuel their vehicles. Plus, the FuelFocus system is fully integrated with the City’s FleetFocus fleet system, which eliminates the need for double entry of data and ensures all fueling transactions get automatically recorded to the proper unit.
Fuel management basics
In the harsh climate of Calgary, where temperatures can dip to -30°C and lower, and rise to +30°C, the FuelFocus system helps fleet services maintain a watchful eye over fuel tanks. All aboveground fuel tanks and most underground fuel lines going from the tanks to the fuel islands are double walled. Between the walls, electronic sensors have been installed to monitor for leak detection. In addition, temperature compensated sensors have been installed inside all fuel tanks so the volume of fuel in the tank can be accurately balanced to the amount of fuel dispensed on a daily basis.
The City currently operates 16 fueling sites; some large and some as small as one pump. As Martin noted, the City is trying to get out of the fuel business, but there are a few diesel fuel islands so remote and essential it would be difficult to totally eliminate the City’s fuel operations.
Every City employee authorized to dispense fuel to a vehicle is given either a plastic card to swipe through a card reader at the fuel island control unit (ICU) or an employee number which they key in at the ICU keypad. Before fuel can be dispensed, the ICU prompts the employee for unit number, employee ID and meter reading. The ICU then checks to make sure the unit number, and employee ID are valid and that the right type of fuel is being dispensed.
Since the FuelFocus software is fully integrated into the City’s FleetFocus system, a single entry into the FuelFocus system is automatically uploaded into FleetFocus, which eliminates the need for double entry of data and ensures all fueling transactions are recorded to the proper unit. During the day, FleetFocus polls the FuelFocus system and downloads data from the ICU into the FleetFocus database, updating vehicle record fields such as meter reading and fuel consumption.
Each time FleetFocus polls the ICU, the total quantity of fuel dispensed from the tanks is also calculated, and this data is compared to readings taken from the electronic sensor installed in the tank. At the end of each day a reconciliation report is generated—and you can be sure there’s more than one City employee with a vested interest in checking those daily reports.
Tighter customer control
To provide internal customers with timely fuel consumption data, fleet services wrote a custom interface from FleetFocus and FuelFocus to the citywide accounting system that automatically charges each customer for the fuel used that day. A fuel usage report is generated and electronically transmitted to the using departments, allowing them to review fuel data on a daily basis. If any charges are deemed unreasonable, the customer can log onto the system and get more detail. Better data has benefits for fleet services, as well. “The FuelFocus data helps us smooth out our PM program and identify errors quickly so we can take corrective action,” Martin said.