COLUMBUS, Ohio – April 29, 2020 – A year ago, ARCOS LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, launched its ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite at El Paso Electric Company, so the Texas utility could turn its manual process for identifying, assembling and dispatching crews for after-hours emergencies into an automated one that dispatchers complete with a few keystrokes. According to Jason Villanueva, supervisor of Distribution Dispatch at El Paso Electric Company, the benefits to using ARCOS’s SaaS software have been:
- reducing service-restoration time by tens of thousands of dollars per year;
- compressing the time to conduct callouts from up to two hours to a few minutes;
- virtually eliminating grievances related to how workers are called out, and
- distributing the appropriate type of work to the crews best-suited to tackling a job.
“Before we implemented ARCOS, our dispatcher group hand-keyed data to maintain worker profiles and records,” said Villanueva. “And our supervisors spent too much time determining who was responding to callouts. But now ARCOS tracks every response automatically and regularly emails a report to supervisors, so there’s a single, verifiable record.”
Because El Paso Electric integrated ARCOS with the utility’s financial system, supervisors can also automatically track overtime hours for nearly 200 linemen, apprentices and dutymen. Automation has also saved the utility’s clerks hours of manually tabulating overtime statistics.
In late March to mitigate the novel coronavirus threat to operations El Paso Electric Company chose to handle emergency callouts by keeping its daily crews together; the switch meant the utility wouldn’t mix crew members who weren’t ordinarily working together. Villanueva tapped the ARCOS software to create a system for assigning pre-set groups to after-hour callouts, instead of building a crew composed of the first, available responders.
“With the new approach, we call out a crew as a pre-determined unit,” adds Villanueva. “It’s a way we’re using technology to respond to customers, while navigating the novel coronavirus.”