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ARCOS Heroes: CU plant saves supervisors hundreds of hours of work, readies for emergencies

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CU Springfield_Frederick Johnson

Pictured is City Utilities of Springfield Maintenance Supervisor Frederick Johnson at his desk inside the John Twitty. Energy Center reviewing an automated work roster in the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling solution.

Willy Haffecke, David Nelson, Frederick Johnson, Tracy Carter, Carol Jordan and Sherri Baxter aren’t widely known beyond City Utilities of Springfield (Missouri). But they’ve saved their utility hundreds of hours of work annually and ensured CU is able to communicate emergencies in seconds, not minutes or hours.

In 2016, Haffecke, the director of Power Generation, and Nelson, an outage planner/scheduler, along with their coworkers implemented the ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling solution at CU’s John Twitty Energy Center, James River Power Station, Noble Hill Landfill Renewable Energy Center and McCartney Generation Station to automate the forecasting, planning and call out of electrical, mechanical and operations personnel.

As a power plant supervisor earlier in his career, Nelson knew the pain of trying to get people on site for overtime, holdovers or emergent work.

“You’d spend time on the phone, in the middle of the night, going down a list trying to get the right craft and combo of crafts to come to the site; sometimes you’d spend an hour or more,” recalls Nelson. “That’s time as a supervisor you can use to go out to the job, verify the necessary tagging is in place and prep for repairs.”

According to Nelson, when Haffecke came from CU’s electric department to become director of Power Generation, he brought with him knowledge of the ARCOS system in place for City Utilities’ linemen. Haffecke and Nelson compared notes and analyzed the situation.

Johnson, a supervisor for power station maintenance, Carter, the operations supervisor, Jordan, an office administrator during the implementation, and Baxter, an office administrator, quickly got behind the effort when they saw it was something that would make things right for CU. For example, with ARCOS supervisors can launch a callout from home, which speeds up the process of getting workers into the plant for emergency or routine work. If an environmental issue arises and CU needs all-hands on deck, or has to relay critical information, the ARCOS emergency notification feature can fire off a news bulletin to everyone in seconds.

As the team rolled out the ARCOS solution, they made use of CU’s “Thursday tailgates” to explain the benefit to workers.

“There was apprehension because some people don’t like change,” says Nelson. “But we can now let the software takeover by getting personnel on-site based on the craft needed, their position on the overtime list, and qualifications, so supervisors can go back to overseeing our plants.

“We tailored it to meet our needs in Power Production to be fair, equitable, and we have the ability to make changes as needed,” adds Nelson.

Between January 2017 and March 2018, CU has launched 249 callouts, which would have required hundreds of hours of supervisors’ time to complete manually.

Utility workers often go unnoticed. When something breaks, the spotlight shines on workers who restore service. But the industry is also filled with heroes, like those from CU, who make things right not in response to an emergency, but because they simply see a better way.

Still doing damage assessment manually? When you do the math, Manual Damage Assessment doesn’t make sense.

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Doing the Math

After Irma, we did a little digging into the impact automated damage assessment can have on a utility. After a string of Nor’easters we are reminded again of the impact effective damage assessment has on restoration efforts.

A recent conversation with executives of five, top North American utilities revealed that, on average, during a major event, a full-time equivalent (FTE) for restoration costs roughly $2,500 per day, including meals and lodging.

The first nor’easter hit on March 2.  According to ABC News, on March 9, 500,000 people were still without power. While utilities conduct assessment and restoration in tandem, reducing restoration by just one day can have a big impact on sending out the right crews to fix damage faster.

Let’s say that a utility required 1,000 more FTEs to help with restoration at a cost of $2,500 per day, which would tally roughly $2.5 million per day.

Many utilities still conduct damage assessments manually. Here’s what’s involved in what we call an “Open Loop Damage Assessment Process.” 

  1. Printing of maps
  2. Assigning damage tickets and maps to assessors
  3. Assessors collect and report damage by hand, on printed maps
  4. Driving back to the storm center with maps notating damage
  5. Aggregating all the notations on each map to a) make sense of it, and b) determine a game plan for repair
  6. Someone else manually entering the status of the damage ticket in the Outage Management System and creating a work ticket
  7. Beginning the routing process for work tickets

You can get rid of all of the “Open Loop Damage Assessment Process” using automated damage assessment, which means:

  • electronically sending maps and damage tickets to the field; and
  • having assessors in the field electronically note damage and send via wireless communication their reports back to the storm center as they are completed.

As these reports come in, they could automatically update the Outage Management System, which would trigger a work ticket sent electronically to a repair crew that would start restoring power.  

At an estimated cost of $2.5 million per day, reducing restoration by just one day represents a remarkable saving for the utility. It also puts the community back online and back to work and gives customer satisfaction a boost.

Want to know more?  Call us, so we can share how customers are using ARCOS Damage Assessment to improve efficiency and reduce restoration time. Check out our events page for our upcoming Damage Assessment web demos, too.

North American utilities make ARCOS Conference hub for fine-tuning emergency preparedness, resource management

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Columbus, Ohio – March 1, 2018

From March 4 – 7, 2018, in San Antonio, ARCOS® LLC will host nearly 200 attendees from North American utilities at the 15th-annual ARCOS Conference where industry speakers will present what they have learned about improving reliability, boosting emergency response and reducing restoration time. Rudy Garza, senior vice president of Distribution Services & Operations for CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally owned energy utility, will deliver the keynote.

This year’s agenda includes roundtables and scenario-based training with experts in emergency preparedness, operations and ICS management from gas, electric, power generation and water utilities including American Electric Power, NiSource, Southern Company and industry groups such as the Edison Electric Institute. Presenters will show how they’re able to quickly respond, restore service and report on outcomes daily and during major events using cutting-edge tools for assessing damage and automatically organizing and deploying resources and crews.

ARCOS and its utility partners will lead more than 30 sessions that include:

  • shaving restoration time with mobile damage assessment;
  • automatically identifying and keeping tabs on external resources;
  • working efficiently with contractors to speed up response and gain situational awareness;
  • developing winning strategies for keeping the public, politicians and regulators informed during and after major events; and
  • case studies on responding to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Northeast October wind storm, California wildfires and the Boston Marathon Bombing.

“Each year our conference has gotten bigger and better; this, our 15th year, is another record-breaker for attendance and the number of new products we’ll spotlight,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive of ARCOS. “Last year saw events like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey batter service territories, but we also saw utilities respond in unprecedented ways with technology ARCOS developed for automating damage assessment and resource management. This will be front and center as we collaborate to improve safety and service at ARCOS 2018.”

The ARCOS pre-conference on Sunday, March 4 will include ARCOS Learning Labs and support sessions for getting the most out of ARCOS’s solutions. See the conference agenda and more information here.

EEI Response Awards Released for Harvey and Irma

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The Edison Electric Institute Response Awards were announced February 7th and we could not be prouder of the recipients!   EEI gave two types of awards – one to utilities that responded and one to utilities that assisted.  It truly takes a village, and investments in resilience and efficiency to effectively meet the industry’s mission to provide safe, reliable, and affordable service.   Congratulations to you all – and a special salute to the utilities that are members of the ARCOS family.   

Storm Snapshot: Honoring Excellence in Power Restoration

Entergy Utility Truck

View the picture deck from T&D World

Want to learn more? Check out our latest series: The ARCOS Storm.  Our first installment focuses on the planning that has to take place for a major event and how technology can improve the planning process.  We’ve told the story through the eyes of an electric, gas and water utility.  Simply pick the industry that you want to learn more about.  Don’t forget to sign up for updates so we can alert for the next installment.

What’s your damage assessment strategy for renewable energy assets?

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According to a recent article in The New York Times, Xcel and other power companies nationwide are rapidly and strategically positioning for wind turbines and solar panels that generate less costly energy than coal-fired plants. In fact, Xcel says it’s rapidly becoming cheaper to build (and generate energy from) wind farms and solar plants than rely on coal. As these renewable plants come online, how will utilities and their partners handle emergent work and assess damage in the wake of major events?

Industrial wind turbines, often in remote locations, can measure up to 100 meters tall. At the top of these turbines, in the nacelle and hub, is where maintenance and repairs most often occur. Whether a turbine goes offline due to a component failure, such as a pitch system, or severe weather causes external damage to rotors, plant owners must respond safely and swiftly because they are losing, on average, several thousand dollars per day per turbine. Getting workers and resources into position happens faster with automated callout and a closed-loop damage assessment process.

Imagine a scenario in which you can quickly assemble and dispatch assessors. Humans and drones then submit damage assessment reports, which a network delivers to a control center to view all completed jobs and a summary of collected damage (by turbine, component, etc.), while automatically generating a work packet and integrating with an OMS and WMS for field crew assignment.

The future is almost here. Is your callout and damage assessment strategy ready?

ARCOS founder, Mitch McLeod, to be inducted into Bowling Green’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame

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Mitch McLeod

ARCOS is very proud of our history and glad to see our founder, Mitch McLeod, being recognized as a 2018 inductee to the Paul J. Hooker Center For Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame.  Mitch, along with other honorees, will be inducted into the hall of fame on April 18.

Bowling Green State University’s (BGSU) College of Business created the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame in order to recognize the achievements of graduates, honorary degree holders, and members of the community for, “founding, leading or building a new business enterprise for five years or more. These individuals have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped shape our economies and improved our quality of life.”  ARCOS is honored to have a founder that has made such an impact in business, the industry, and for the employees that serve to maintain a standard of excellence everyday.

For information about the history of ARCOS, be sure to visit the “Our History” page.  Additional details about the Paul J. Hooker Hall of Fame and its current members can be found here.

 

Introducing the ARCOS Storm

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We live in a time where a solution is available for every problem.

Sometimes it is difficult to find the right solution, to the right problem, at the right time – this is exacerbated when the options are spread far and wide, and might only address parts of the problem you are looking to solve.

So, ARCOS thought, how can we help utilities, from multiple industries, with unique problems they are individually facing, find what they need NOW? With this question in mind, we came up with a concept to illustrate an event that takes place across multiple utility types to show from start to finish how our solutions can address the full cycle of the most severe problems you may experience. That concept – The ARCOS Storm.

Hurricane Eye

What is the ARCOS Storm?

ARCOS Storm is a full cycle storyline that describes how a massive storm event affects multiple industries – electric, gas, water.  Each industry storyline is split into 4 segments, Plan, Respond, Restore, Report, in order to highlight challenges that are faced and the associated solutions through the lifecycle of an unplanned event.

How do I access ARCOS Storm?

We have already begun releasing content for ARCOS Storm, beginning with our intro page and the Plan section for each industry (electric, gas, water).  Over the coming weeks, we will be adding additional sections to our industry pages where you can follow the progress and response to the event by specific industry.  Additional content, including blogs and videos may be released as well, so keep an eye out!

Quick tip: While going through the ARCOS Storm, we recommend visiting the other utility types and reading their story as well.  We have found that even with different operations, many readers have found other perspectives of the same event to be insightful and influential in how they think about event response.

And you think 2017 was tough?

Some statistics from 2017:

  • According to NOAA/NEI – There were 16 billion-dollar disasters in the US totaling over $300 billion – a new record
  • Per the World Economic Health Forum – Extreme weather is the #1 global risk in terms of likelihood for a second consecutive year

Yes, 2017 was a  quite a year for storms, fires, floods, winds, tornadoes – – you name it, North America got hit with it.  Each and every time our customers rallied to the challenge – defeating the endless challenges that prevented electric, gas and water service flowing.

We wanted to capture for you how our customers used technology to reduce restoration time, better deploy resources, and improve customer satisfaction.  But those of you in the industry know how it is.  After each event, there is so much reconciling of information – much of which is sensitive – which prevents our customer’s heroic stories from being told.

Introducing The ARCOS Storm

ARCOS Storm is a full cycle storyline that describes how a massive storm event affects multiple industries – electric, gas, water.  Each industry storyline is split into 4 segments, Plan, Respond, Restore, Report, in order to highlight challenges that are faced and the associated solutions through the lifecycle of an unplanned event.  We took the customer stories we learned about over several storm seasons and packaged them up into a storyline so that all utilities can learn from the experience of our customers. Our first installment focuses on the planning and how utilities in the electic, gas and water segments use technology to help them plan better for unplanned events.  

Have a story you want to share? Let us know and we’ll incorporate it into our storm series.

 

Canadian Electricity Assoc. webinar features how and why utilities are automating callout

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Canadian Electric Association

Ottawa – February 13, 2018

The Canadian Electricity Association and its corporate partner ARCOS® LLC will host a one-hour webinar on February 13 at 1 p.m. EST with utility experts from Alectra Utilities and Eversource Energy who will explain the benefits of automating crew callout, scheduling and crew management.

The webinar will show attendees why Alectra and Eversource automated their callout and scheduling of lineworkers and how their systems work. Speakers will explain how automating these processes help get service restored faster for customers, improve equitable distribution of overtime work and give utility executives better insight into how their workforce is deployed.

Eversource plans approximately 40,000 hours of work across 40 work centers serving its customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Historically, the vast majority of that work was planned manually, leveraging a combination of work management systems and paper-based job packets. Eversource implemented an automated crew management system to create greater visibility for its leadership into crew operations and eliminate the inefficiencies of a paper-based system that could create delays for customers.

With its Crew Manager solution, Eversource has increased its work schedule maximization rates, and completion rates for planned work have climbed more than 10 percent.

Representatives from Alectra Utilities will explain how the Canadian utility is implementing an automated callout solution, including a mobile component, that will replace a system of manual callouts backed by a computerized roster of linemen.

For utility companies without an automated system, call center operators often make after-hours callouts for linemen by manually dialing each worker, until they form a crew, which is a practice that can extend the restoration process by an hour or more. To join the webinar, visit this link.

 

About CEA

Founded in 1891, CEA is the national forum and voice of the evolving electricity business in Canada. The Association contributes to the regional, national, and international success of its members. Learn more at www.electricity.ca.

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Review: Our Top Session Pick – Brad Baugh, Distributech

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We knew that Distributech was going to be big this year and you may have missed our Top Session Pick, so we created a Top Pick Review to help you catch up or just recall everything covered during this powerful session.

Brad Baugh, team leader for Alabama Power Company, Power Delivery – Distribution Technology, delivered a 30-minute presentation at 8 a.m. today at Distributech in San Antonio to approximately 65 people on the topic of ARCOS Damage Assessment. Background on his presentation can be found in our previous blog post.

Brad was pinch-hitting for his colleague Chris McClain who was dispatched to Puerto Rico to help with restoration. Brad’s presentation began by stating the problem with the open-loop, manual damage assessment approach in place at Alabama Power. He asked how many others had a similar situation, 25 percent of the attendees in the room raised hands. Brad said, “Even the best manual processes have room for gaining efficiency, especially through technology.”

Brad underscored the problem of multiple handoffs of maps and information between storm coordinators, damage evaluators and field crews, as well as the difficulty and delays interpreting handwritten assessments, especially when evaluators come from the ranks of non-engineers who aren’t able to distinguish between a 3-phase transformer bank and a 3-phase hydraulic re-closer.

Each piece of missing information, request for clarifications and search for broken equipment causes the assessment process to drag out. That, says Brad, delays getting the right resources to the right place, which “piles up costs and stretches out restoration time.”

Brad said that Alabama Power fixed this situation by deploying iPads and Damage Assessment (DA) to approximately 1,200 line crews and engineering and support staff in Dec. 2017. He described DA as a tool that’s “eliminated all the issues with our paper-based process.” According to Brad, DA is a mobile app and back-office system. He explained how DA takes advantage of GIS data, works on mobile devices. Brad says, storm coordinators use it to, for example, assign a user to a feeder and push assignments to their mobile device of choice; any others assigned to the same circuit would get the same feeder maps.

According to Brad, from the user perspective, they get a map showing a feeder; they can collect data, search for roads and see a job list of all the feeders a coordinator has assigned the damage evaluator. Brad said, “The lasso tool is the best because you can quickly report everything is broken in the big events like a hurricane, and the system handles the identification of each piece of equipment within the lasso. You don’t need to be an engineer; you simply report a piece of equipment is damaged, and DA does the identification and reporting back to the coordinator.”

This information is flowing from our GIS, said Brad, and is pulling in a small subset of GIS data to let an evaluator collect data; as long as they are standing in front of a pole, they don’t need to know if something is a transformer versus a re-closer. “They just select the device and tap that it’s damaged,” added Brad.

“The tool has worked really well for us,” remarked Brad. “And the one piece we hope to have completed by hurricane season is eliminating some data entry by coordinators between DA and our OMS.”

In closing, Brad said, “With DA, Alabama Power has . . .

  • Eliminated paper-based feeder maps
  • Done away with multiple, physical hand-offs between coordinators and evaluators and crews
  • Been able to reach evaluators before they leave their homes with electronic assignments
  • Eliminated handwritten notes, so evaluators and crews can mark work complete and coordinators can see the number of broken poles, overall damage, etc.
  • Reduced confusion and time to transpose notes on maps
  • Most importantly, sped up resource management decisions because there is real- and near-real-time information that was never there.”

Brad got the following questions:

Q: Is there any integration with WMS, like Maximo?
A: We have no integration in DA with Maximo, but we will have that OMS integration I mentioned, soon.

Q: Who makes the product?
A: ARCOS.

Q: What type of database is ARCOS running on?
A: Oracle.

Q: How does DA handle network disconnect?
A: As long as you have a feeder map downloaded, you can record damage, and it’s continually “syncing” all day long. A screen will show you how much you’ve synced to, but it’s doing it regularly. I’ve not had any trouble with synchronization or being slowed down or disconnected when using it in my role as an evaluator.

ARCOS VP of Sales receives Patriot Award for tremendous leadership

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The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award is a prestigious award granted to supervisors that go above and beyond to support a military Service members commitment and dedication to the country. ARCOS’ own VP of Sales, Michael Brubaker, recently won the award for his leadership and encouragement of Master Sergeant, Andrew Livingston.

ARCOS strives to empower employees to live out the companies core values through their integrity and daily commitment to solving the utility industries toughest challenges. As an illustration of their teamwork and dedication, Livingston nominated Brubaker for his continued support of the actions and sacrifices Livingston makes in serving our country as an active duty Reservist in the United States Air Force.  ARCOS is proud to see its employees foster the core values that help us to deliver the best services to our customers and utilities.

Michael Brubaker Receives Patriot Award

Top 5 MUST SEE Sessions Distributech 2018

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JANUARY 23 – 25, 2018 | SAN ANTONIO, TX
HENRY B. GONZALEZ CONVENTION CENTER

We are really excited about Distributech 2018 this year!

#5 Keynote

Paula Gold-Williams
Paula Gold-Williams
President & CEO,
CPS Energy

Paula Gold-Williams is President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CPS Energy. She assumed the role on July 25, 2016, after serving in the interim capacity for nine months.
As President & CEO, Paula leads its more than 3,000 team members with the vision she has coined “People First,” whereby CPS Energy is evolving its efforts to create and deliver value to its employees, customers and community into a new age of energy solutions.Paula Gold-Williams

#4 Mega Sessions: The Role of Innovation

Power Panel, That’s the best way to describe this hard-hitting session, with panelists ranging from a number of the country’s largest utilities. As the utility industry prepares for the future, this panel will be presenting the steps panelists and their respective utilities have taken to develop a brighter, better grid for tomorrow and beyond. Come away with an understanding of processes for adopting new technology and a plan for implementing and accommodating new technologies.

Want to hear a specific utilities story? We have gone ahead and listed the panelist below so you don’t miss out on their “Power Panel”:

-Dirk Mahling, VP Technology, Alliant Energy
-Roy Lum, Director Business Technology, PG&E
-Raiford Smith, Vice President, ENTERGY
-Vibhu Kaushik, Director of Grid Technology & Modernization, Southern California Edison

#3 Geospacial Track

This one is huge, so big in fact that we could not decide on ONE session, we had to choose ONE TRACK.

Welcome to the new age of geospatial technology, no longer is it just converting old paper maps into new digital versions. This track takes a look at how utilities are taking advantage of this technology to visualize data, interact with customers, employees, contractors, and regulators and have improved situational awareness and decision making.

Check out this summary view of all the sessions so that you can choose your favorites from this track.

#2 Leveraging Smart Grid Investments to Enhance Customer Engagement

At the end of the day, all the work utilities do is for the customer, this is a sentiment shared in one of ARCOS’ own core values, “We are relentless about customer success” and something we strive to achieve every day. This customer engagement session is key to keeping in mind who you and your utility serve and how that relationship is set to evolve as utilities modernize and improve.
Panelists Carrie Harkness, Program Manager, Consumers Energy, Duane Pearson, Manager of Customer Program Innovation, Salt River Project and Michel Losier of NB Power will be participating in a panel discussing the business case and requirements of bringing customer engagement to the future.
Each panelist will detail how they strive for effective engagement approaches with customers and lessons learned through real-life case studies.

#1 Brad Baugh, Alabama Power – After Major Events, Utilities Assess Damage to Gauge What’s Needed for Repairs. Alabama Power’s new Mobile Damage Assessment Tool Cuts the Process from Days to Hours, Using GIS, Smartphones and Tablets

Automating the damage assessment process can massively improve restoration time by getting work in the hands of accessors at lightning speed, and returned to the storm center in real time by eliminating paper maps and other manual processes. Meaning repair crews can be dispatched faster to improve restoration times. There’s a host of other benefits which we’re sure Brad will cover and you won’t want to miss.

See our previous blog post for more details on this session.

Top Session Pick for DistribuTECH ’18: Alabama Power & Damage Assessment with Brad Baugh

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Distributech 2018 be in San Antonio this year January 23-25th at the Convention center and will host over 300 utilities and 13,000 attendees.  With more than a dozen session tracks there’s something for everyone. If you have to prioritize your sessions at Distributech 2018, be sure to put Brad Baugh’s session at the top of your list.

After Major Events, Utilities Assess Damage to Gauge What’s Needed for Repairs. Alabama Power’s new Mobile Damage Assessment Tool Cuts the Process From Days to Hours, Using GIS, Smartphones and Tablets

Brad Baugh, Alabama Power
Room: 210A
Thursday, January 25, 2018: 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Mobile Solutions track

Utilities can considerably improve restoration time by automating the damage assessment process – eliminating the paper maps alone can help utilities get work in the hands of accessors at lightning speed – and returned back to the storm center in real time…which means repair crews and be dispatched faster to improve restoration times.  There’s a host of other benefits which we’re sure Brad will cover and you won’t want to miss.

The ARCOS team will be on site too and if you’re attending, please let us know so we can meet you and introduce you to other ARCOS customers.  We’ll also be at booth #2763 if you need us.

 

Could you provide regulators with a storm report in hours vs days?

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Two days ago, Maine’s regulators ordered power companies to complete a storm report detailing their response to the October windstorm that knocked out power in the Northeast to half a million people. The regulators want a report within 30 days describing the daily outages as well as contractor-specific dates, times, locations, equipment and number of crews during restoration. The utilities also need to report in detail about mutual assistance and how they coordinated with state and local officials during restoration.

In addition to detailing the costs incurred to restore, the commission wants details on all external resources used, including contractors and utilities, and how they coordinated with state and local officials during restoration.

How many hours – or days – would it take your utility to pull this together?

Crew Manager Timeline Dashboard

Moving this timeline bar forward or back provides a snapshot of the status and distribution of crews at any given time. All information can be exported to a CSV or Excel file.

 

Resource Management solutions from ARCOS are cloud-based and designed specifically to help all utilities (Gas, Electric and Water) automatically capture this type of data, so it’s available to submit the moment regulators or utility executives request it.  Many of our utility customers also use the data to hone their own process for continuous improvement and performance management. As a utility, if you could respond in a few hours to this request with accurate and detailed information (even maps for historical visualization) — your utility would be a hero.  That’s what we set out to do every day – make our customers heroes.  There’s a reason why 70% of electric utilities use ARCOS solutions to respond, restore and REPORT for both ‘blue sky’ and storm events.

 

For the complete story, please see the article by Lori Valigra at Bangor Daily News

 

With ARCOS, Tennessee American Water reduces response time to fix water main breaks

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ARCOS® LLC has implemented its Software-as-a-Service ARCOS CallOut® and Scheduling solution at the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Tennessee American Water to automate how the utility’s distribution department responds to customer emergencies. For Tennessee American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, responding to emergencies includes making calls to the utility’s employees to locate available crews to restore water main breaks and shut off meters during after-hours, unplanned events.

With ARCOS, Tennessee American Water reduces response time to fix water main breaks

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Columbus, Ohio – December 5, 2017

ARCOS® LLC has implemented its Software-as-a-Service ARCOS CallOut® and Scheduling solution at the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Tennessee American Water to automate how the utility’s distribution department responds to customer emergencies. For Tennessee American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, responding to emergencies includes making calls to the utility’s employees to locate available crews to restore water main breaks and shut off meters during after-hours, unplanned events.

“The ARCOS system reduces by as much as 30 minutes the time it takes us to get a crew assembled and out into the field to shut off water and begin repairs,” says Casey Allen, operations superintendent for Tennessee American Water. “With a large main break, water can quickly damage a road, adjacent land, or even surrounding structures. One break can exceed several thousands of dollars of damage.”

According to Allen, the ARCOS solution speeds up repair work without jeopardizing anyone’s safety. The quicker the utility can assemble and respond with a crew the more risk and cost the utility mitigates. These costs include paving expenses for fixing water-damaged sections of road or parking areas, repairs to cars damaged by sinkholes and protecting traffic and pedestrians from falling into collapsed sections of road or sidewalk.

“With a union workforce, there are complexities to equitably managing the order in which we call out employees,” adds Allen. “The ARCOS system instantly manages complex union rules without mistakes.”

Using the reports and analytics in the ARCOS solution, Allen and his colleagues say they have minimized grievances related to callouts. The automated system allows supervisors and managers to quickly assemble crews and then head to where the problem is.

Along with automating callouts, Tennessee American Water uses the ARCOS SIREN® Mass Calling solution to send customized emergency messages to employees. Once employees are notified, managers can automatically report on who received the message, who acknowledged getting an alert and which employees haven’t responded.

“Employees can use SIREN’s mobile app to easily update their status at any moment,” adds Allen. “Once an alert goes out, the ARCOS software prompts employees to let us know that they got the message, and we can quickly track and report on the number and kind of responses.”

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering resource management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and resource management daily and during emergencies, ultimately helping to restore energy faster, yet safely, to communities. The award-winning solution helps utilities save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction. Learn more about ARCOS resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com. ARCOS CallOut® and ARCOS Crew Manager® are registered trademarks of ARCOS LLC.

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