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It takes a ‘village’ to electrify a village

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Jim Nowak’s recent column in Electric Light & Power “No Longer Going it Alone: Outage Restoration Requires Relationship” about forging relationships to improve restoration and response really hit home as I read T&D World’s article “First Responders Join FPL for its Annual Storm Drill.” The T&D World article explains how FPL tested 3,000 employees last month on responding to an event of the same magnitude as Irma. FPL included Florida’s governor, industry leaders and first responders.

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Cyber security and the cloud of protection

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Cyber Security

By Ted Schneider

In June, I’ll attend EEI’s Annual Convention in San Diego where I’m excited to hear Robert Herjavec, founder of information security firm Herjavec Group and Lead Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” talk tech. Security is a passion of mine. The second person I hired for the ARCOS CloudOPs team was a cyber security engineer. A little over a year after joining ARCOS as its CTO, I watched the Ukraine fall victim to a hack of its electric infrastructure.

Since then, the number of discussions about security that we’ve had with clients has grown exponentially. Security requirements are mushrooming. And groups inside utilities dedicated to cyber security are ballooning. Maintaining security is a moving target, though. It’s more than minimizing downtime; security is about giving your organization and technology a multi-tiered buffer zone allowing time to ignore, trap and reject the negative intrusions or loading. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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

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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? Read More

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. Read More

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.

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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. Read More