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With ARCOS, City Utilities of Springfield automates scheduling and callout at power plants

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Columbus, Ohio – June 8, 2017

ARCOS® LLC has implemented its Software-as-a-Service  ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling solution at Missouri-based City Utilities of Springfield’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. The four plants (a mix of coal-fired and gas turbines) produce nearly 800 MW of power.

The ARCOS solution standardizes the way utilities respond, restore and report, while taking into account bargaining unit agreements, so shift supervisors can automatically fill and re-arrange schedules as conditions warrant. City Utilities of Springfield (CU) has used the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling solution for its electric transmission and distribution workers since 2008. Due to the success of ARCOS for CU’s electric T&D operations, CU generation station managers bought the solution to help the four plants, which employ almost 120 workers – 70 of whom belong to IBEW Local 753 – meet staffing levels for emergency work, job continuation, and unloading coal trains. The ARCOS solution will serve as the labor system of record for the James Twitty Energy Center, which is where CU’s workers report before supervisors dispatch them to the other generation stations.

“We’ll use the ARCOS solution like our electric distribution system does:  hit a button, let the ARCOS software takeover by getting personnel on site based on their qualifications, so supervisors can go back to overseeing our plants,” said David Nelson, outage planner for City Utilities of Springfield. “We easily tailored ARCOS to the Statement of Intent for our union so callout rules are fair and equitable.”

Before implementing ARCOS, it could take CU supervisors up to an hour to find an electrician to rack out a breaker and then locate a mechanic and support staff to perform repairs. While a supervisor was manually dialing workers for emergent work, he couldn’t address other problems that required his presence.

“If needed, our supervisors can even launch a callout from home with ARCOS, which speeds up the process of getting workers into the plant for emergency or routine work,” adds Nelson. “If we have an environmental issue and need all-hands on deck, or have to relay critical information, the ARCOS emergency notification feature lets us fire off a news bulletin to everyone.”

“Whether the employer is a muni or a co-op – whether it delivers electricity, gas or water – we have a solution that mirrors the way utility professionals safely go about their jobs,” says Ted Schneider, chief technology officer for ARCOS.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and 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 emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.  ARCOS and Crew Manager are registered trademarks of ARCOS LLC.

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Media contact:

Bill Perry

ARCOS Solution Arms Peoples Natural Gas With Automatic Crew Response for After-Hours Unplanned and Emergency Work

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Columbus, Ohio – March 7, 2017 

ARCOS® LLC, the North American leader in utility resource management software, has implemented its Software-as-a-Service  ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling solution at Peoples Natural Gas to modernize the utility’s current callout response system for responding to gas leaks, restoring service and reporting on the restoration process.

“We learned about ARCOS from other local utility companies,” said Barry Leezer, director of Customer Operations for Peoples. “Prior to ARCOS, we were using manual callouts that were slow to complete, and our challenges were with potential human errors and record-keeping.

Peoples is using the ARCOS system for after-hours call out of emergency crews. The solution will centralize data for 641 employees including first responders, foremen and mechanics of the Utility Workers of America (Local 612). The ARCOS solution stores workers’ contact information, backfills shifts in the event of unplanned absences and tracks a worker’s availability status.

According to Leezer, Peoples’ executives will get a deeper level of reporting and information about the status of crews and service restoration efforts, available immediately upon request.

Gas utilities rely on the ARCOS solution, in part, when calling out workers for unplanned or emergency work. The solution accounts for complex work rules that ensure overtime is equitably parceled out to gas techs and mechanics in accordance with union agreements. If, for example, a first responder arrives at a gas leak over night or on the weekend and secures the leak but still needs a Peoples crew for repairs, a supervisor can launch a callout with ARCOS via a mobile device or laptop in minutes and assemble a qualified crew minutes later.

As the ARCOS solution automatically runs a callout in the background, dispatchers can monitor incoming calls about gas leaks and devote even more attention to handling emergencies. If the volume of emergency calls outstrips the number of available first responders, a Peoples dispatcher can use ARCOS to immediately identify and bring in additional first responders.

“ARCOS helps our customers by helping us deliver better service and gives us a safe and faster response time,” added Leezer.

Peoples,  headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the largest natural gas distribution company in Pennsylvania, providing reliable, low cost natural gas service to approximately 700,000 customers in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

 

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About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew resource management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates damage assessment and inspection, crew assembly daily and during emergencies, ultimately helping to restore energy faster, yet safely, to communities. The award-winning solutions help utilities save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction. Learn more about ARCOS emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.  ARCOS is a registered trademark of ARCOS LLC.

 

Media contact:

Bill Perry

bperry@arcos-inc.com

Dispatch Center Employee - Peoples Natural Gas

A Peoples Natural Gas worker at the Pittsburgh Dispatch Center prepares a callout in the ARCOS solution.                

Source: Peoples Natural Gas

For utility crews, new ARCOS Location Services technology maximizes work time

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St. Petersburg, Florida – February 28, 2017 

At the 14th annual ARCOS Conference, which is being attended this year by nearly 60 electric, gas and power-generation utilities, Columbus, Ohio-based ARCOS® LLC, the North American leader in utility resource management software, stated it was adding Location Services technology to its Software-as-a-Service solutions to map the real-time location of utility crews. With Location Services, utility managers can continuously track users of the ARCOS Mobile app and store their location within any ARCOS product using a mobile device’s GPS technology.

“Until now, managers haven’t had a system for establishing either where a worker was coming from when accepting a callout or a crew’s exact location during a shift,” says Ted Schneider, chief technology officer for ARCOS. “Our automated callout solution has always expedited getting a worker on the clock. But with Location Services, managers can maximize a crew’s time while on the clock because they can see how far crews are from their next work site, which helps prioritize jobs.”

The Location Services technology integrates across all of the ARCOS products – including the ARCOS Callout Suite and ARCOS Crew Manager – and collects a lineman’s or mechanic’s location and the roster they are on, once they log onto ARCOS Mobile from their device. When a worker accepts a callout, a map within the ARCOS Mobile app, viewable via desktop computer or mobile device, pinpoints the real-time location of all the individuals who have accepted a callout, which is an alert to report for emergency or special work.

For utility’s using Crew Manager, Location Services converts a graphical list of crews assembled for different jobs onto a map. During daily operations, the Location Services-generated map shows supervisors where crews are minute by minute. The ARCOS Mobile app also records a worker’s location continuously, passing the data to a server to store for reporting.

“Location Services helps utility managers get their crews to as many job sites as possible during an 8- to 10-hour shift, which increases tool time and revenue,” adds Schneider.

The Location Services technology runs within the ARCOS Mobile app on the ARCOS Callout Suite as well as ARCOS Crew Manager.

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About ARCOS LLC

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

Media contact:

Bill Perry

 

 

At ARCOS Conference, new service-restoration solutions help utilities respond, restore and report

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Duke Energy keynote to show how technology aided response to Hurricane Matthew

Columbus, Ohio – February 21, 2017

ARCOS® LLC, the North American leader in utility resource management software, will host nearly 60 electric, gas and power plant utilities at its 14th-annual ARCOS Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., from February 26 – March 1, 2017, to present cutting-edge strategies and technologies for responding to outages, restoring service and reporting on the restoration process.

Duke Energy Vice President of Engineering and Storm Director Luis Ordaz will deliver a keynote address giving attendees an insider’s look at how one of America’s largest utilities grappled with preparing for and restoring service after Category 5 Hurricane Matthew.

The conference agenda also includes Duke Energy Vice President of Construction & Maintenance Dave Maxon presenting highlights from a pre-conference ARCOS Executive Summit of international and U.S. utilities. Maxon will report on trends and technologies discussed in the summit, which focuses on successfully operating the utility company of the future.

ARCOS and its utility partners will run nearly 40 sessions including:

  • exploring mobile damage assessment with ARCOS’s SAMsix solution;
  • automatically building crews for blue-sky and emergency response via Crew Manager, which a utility can use to increase its adherence rate for planned work by more than 10 percent;
  • improving communication with customers and contractors via the ARCOS SIREN® Mass Calling solution; and
  • using callout and event management software to safely speed up service restoration.

Sessions will be led by expert ARCOS users from Eversource, NiSource, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern Company, Tampa Electric Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and more.

“At the conference, we share the hard-won know-how to get faster, sharper and safer about service restoration,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive of ARCOS. “Discussions happen in presentations, over meals and in the hallways. Attendees are laser-beam focused on imparting what they know. We also get incredible user input for designing ARCOS’s technologies now and into the future.”

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About ARCOS LLC

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

Media contact:

Bill Perry

Mobile: 614-975-7538

bperry@march24media.com

ARCOS LLC ACQUIRES MOBILE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT SOFTWARE PROVIDER SAMSIX

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Columbus, Ohio – August 16, 2016

ARCOS LLC, the North American leader in emergency resource management software for utilities, has acquired SAMsix, an innovator in utility mobile software. The acquisition combines ARCOS’ industry leading abilities to quickly activate and manage personnel and equipment with SAMsix’s mobile damage assessment and crew location services. The purchase fulfills ARCOS customer demand for automated mobile damage assessment and location services as part of the ARCOS platform and strategically supports ARCOS’ mission to help utilities improve operational efficiency, restoration time, and service reliability for their customers.

The ARCOS enterprise solution enables utilities to automate callouts, manage crews for daily work, and mobilize emergency response logistics and personnel (i.e., internal support staff, mutual assistance crews and contractors) during a large outage or catastrophic event. The SAMsix products help utilities quickly document damage to infrastructure in hours versus days. The SAMsix solution also supports routine field inspections in addition to providing crew location services that enable comprehensive situational awareness during an emergency.

“When combined with SAMsix, the ARCOS platform will be the first in the utility industry to integrate damage assessment, crew resource management, and the logistics support needed for routine field inspections and to restore power and respond during emergency events,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS. “This will significantly improve a utility’s ability to accurately forecast the estimated time of restoration (ETR) for customers and regulators.”

As utilities use SAMsix to determine repairs and material needs, managers can quickly estimate whether they require mutual assistance and contractor crews to complete the work, getting the power on sooner at less cost to the utility. SAMsix crew tracking also monitors the movement of crews into or across a utility’s service territory, while ARCOS Crew Manager allows storm and incident commanders to manage today’s available crews and support resources along with planning tomorrow’s work based on the anticipated arrival time of crews at staging sites.

“With our mobile applications, front-line crews and contractor personnel have reduced the time required for damage assessment, daily inspection and other operational tasks from days to hours,” added Steve McMaster, SAMsix founder, now managing director of SAMsix products at ARCOS. “SAMsix apps are device agnostic, running on smartphones, tablets and PCs. They are 100% functional without connectivity, allowing uninterrupted reporting and navigation during storms. And they fully integrate with corporate OMS, WMS and GIS closing the loop from job assignment to completion.”

ARCOS will integrate the SAMsix products into the ARCOS platform. SAMsix customers will continue to be serviced by the same team members, and have the same high quality SAMsix products and service, plus have the option to access the ARCOS product suite. The combined company will maintain SAMsix’s New Paltz, NY office and all employees.

ABOUT ARCOS

ARCOS LLC is the North American leader in delivering SaaS emergency resource management solutions to help utilities respond, restore and report to daily and large scale emergency events. ARCOS software ultimately enables utilities to restore energy fast and safely to communities. Learn more about ARCOS emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.

ARCOS recognized with ‘Best New Partner Award’ by United Way of Central Ohio

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Columbus, Ohio – June 7, 2016 

ARCOS, the North American leader in utility resource management software, has been recognized by United Way of Central Ohio with the “Best New Partner Award.” The award recognizes an organization that has incorporated model strategies into their new campaign and makes United Way a part of their organizational culture. The team at ARCOS met their goal of 100 percent employee participation through donation of time, goods or financial resources.

“Many of our customers partner with United Way in their communities. For example, AEP and Columbia Gas (NiSource) have been running United Way campaigns for quite some time. So when Ram Sastry, vice president – infrastructure & business continuity, at American Electric Power (AEP), reached out to me about United Way, I knew we wanted to get involved,” explained Bruce A. Duff, CEO, ARCOS.

“One of our core values is ‘We solve the industries toughest challenges.’ Working with United Way gave us the opportunity to help solve some of the community’s toughest challenges,” noted Duff.

Keys to a successful campaign included getting employees involved first-hand with volunteering at the Community Free Store and the deconstruction of a property for Habitat for Humanity. Other donation opportunities included contests at a local arcade, gathering personal items and Christmas gifts for the Free Store’s Christmas Shop and a generous matching program.

“Once our employees saw the need right here in our community, they came together with enthusiasm to give back. They are now volunteering year-round for United Way agencies,” said Duff.

ABOUT ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and 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 emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com. ARCOS and Crew Manager are registered trademarks of ARCOS LLC

Media contact: Bill Perry Mobile: 614-975-7538

ARCOS Implements Crew-Management Automation Solution at Eversource Energy

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Columbus, Ohio – May 4, 2016

ARCOS has implemented its Crew Manager solution for Eversource Energy to increase completion rates for planned work. The resource management solution enables centralized crew planning that employees across the service territory can run during blue-sky days and major events. With centralized data about crews and resources, Eversource is able to operate more efficiently across 40 work centers in three states.

“Crew Manager gives Eversource a look at how much work gets done daily and whether there’s consistency in how crews approach work,” said Bill Brackett, vice president of Services and Support at ARCOS.

Crew Manager, an automated crew management solution, increases work schedule maximization rates. In a work center with 25 employees working a 40-hour week, there will be a maximum of 1,000 hours of work for planning purposes. Eversource planners input desired staff hours into the plan for each work center. Using the Crew Manager SaaS solution to schedule work and the make-up of crews, the utility’s adherence rates for planned work have climbed more than 10 percent company-wide.

To boost productivity, Eversource wanted every supervisor to know how his or her peers organized and dispatched crews. In the past, one work center might assign a three-person crew to a particular kind of job that another work center handled with two lineworkers. By displaying this information in Crew Manager for all crews and managers to see, supervisors can now collaborate on how to “right-size” crews for the job.

“We are constantly striving to operate more efficiently, so when trouble arises, customers see fewer and shorter outages,” said Steve Gilkey, vice president of Electric Field Operations for Eversource Energy in Connecticut. “We have had our share of storms over the past few years here in New England. Using Crew Manager has helped ensure that crews across our service territory can travel and assist those in other states using one consistent tool that maximizes productivity.”

Every crew member across Eversource’s system can now walk into a work center and see the same 80-inch smartboard broadcasting Crew Manager, which shows their truck, crew and work tasks for the day.

Crew Manager also shows Eversource the kind of trucks its crews use on certain jobs and if they are accomplishing jobs with, say, smaller vehicles. The information helps the company decide if some equipment on the property isn’t necessary, which can lead to retiring assets. In the wake of major outages, Crew Manager provides a look back at specific days, hours or minutes to see the location of crews and what they worked on. For any storm, managers can precisely determine how many crews were on the system, which increases confidence when presenting storm cost recovery information.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and 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 emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.  ARCOS and Crew Manager are registered trademarks of ARCOS LLC.

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Media contact:

Bill Perry

Mobile: 614-975-7538

UPPCO centralizes and speeds up crew call out with ARCOS

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Columbus, Ohio – April 26, 2016

With the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling solution, the Upper Peninsula Power Company, UPPCO, has centralized and automated the process by which it calls out utility crews for after-hours restoration. UPPCO, which serves about 54,000 customers throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, began launching automated call outs for approximately 100 employees in February.

“While establishing new corporate and operations processes at UPPCO, we began implementing about a dozen IT platforms. We were looking for one that would be a ‘quick hit’ for us, something that would make an impact immediately,” said Bill Nelson, director of Engineering for UPPCO. “Due to our past experience, we weren’t starting from scratch by choosing a system like ARCOS because we knew its capabilities, and it’s an industry standard.”

When a transformer blows or other trouble happens after hours, it falls to the UPPCO system operation center to launch call outs. According to Nelson, the ARCOS solution maintains the callout lists in a central database and eliminates what was a laborious job for operators – hand dialing up to 20 numbers to put a two-man crew together for restoring power. UPPCO workers can, in turn, review, accept or decline a call out from their mobile phones.

“Giving crews a way to see their callout status and manage their response via a mobile device has made a remarkable difference in the way we handle call outs,” said Nelson.

The software records and clarifies what happens as part of a call out and eliminates much of the time it would take to investigate an issue by sorting through paper-based records.

“Without ARCOS, we could spend hours determining who was called out,” added Nelson. “Now, we use ARCOS to bring up the dispatcher’s call log, and in seconds have the data we need to show what happened.”

UPPCO also owns seven hydroelectric generation facilities and two combustion turbines. If these locations have an alarm or unit trip, then the utility turns to the ARCOS solution to call out workers via email, text and phone.

ABOUT ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and 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 emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.

ARCOS and Crew Manager are registered trademarks of ARCOS LLC.

 

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Media contact:

Bill Perry

Mobile: 614-975-7538

ARCOS introduces new utility software functionality at annual conference

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ARCOS® launched new software functionality that gives managers who dispatch utility workers insight into the makeup of crews, including an immediate view of their location and resources inside the ARCOS Crew Manager Solution. Traditionally, utility managers have relied on the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling software to track crew call out data for utility emergencies. Now they can turn to Crew Manager to forecast crew work on a daily basis and for emergency events.

Crew Manager, a SaaS solution like the Callout and Scheduling product, gives executives and field supervisors a look at not only how much work is accomplished daily but also whether there is a consistency to how crews approach their work. By creating a deeper integration between the Callout and Scheduling solution and Crew Manager, supervisors now have a real-time view of crews called out after normal business hours or for emergent work.

“The new functionality automatically tracks a crew’s position, capabilities and make-up,” said Ted Schneider, chief technology officer for ARCOS. “We developed this in response to the utility industry’s desire to have one source for crew data showing which crews and resources are available and where they are located.”

For example, crews that respond to daily emergencies such as a gas leak, or power outage are immediately visible to dispatch centers with access to Crew Manager. Crew information such as job skills, location and remaining working hours is instantly available to managers.

“Our utility customers are looking for more operational efficiencies. Measurement of processes and productivity is critical to improvement,” added Schneider.

To improve utility operation efficiencies, ARCOS also launched a new Advanced Reporting capability to give managers better situational awareness about utility crews during emergency events. With Advanced Reporting, utilities can develop their own reporting strategy—creating reports and metrics and measurements with hundreds of data points. The real-time crew data from the Advanced Reporting solution offers managers a way to customize, schedule and send dashboards to executives and regulators as crews restore service.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS® is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and 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 emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.

Media contact:

Bill Perry

Mobile: 614-975-7538

Turlock Irrigation District automates crew call out and scheduling with ARCOS

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Columbus, Ohio – March 23, 2016

Turlock Irrigation District automates crew call out and scheduling with ARCOS Columbus, Ohio – March 23, 2016 – With the ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling solution, the 650-squaremile Turlock Irrigation District (TID), one of four California irrigation districts providing water and electricity, has reduced by up to 60 minutes the time it takes to identify and assemble crews for restoration work. The ARCOS technology replaced paper lists that the utility’s control center operators relied on to call out linemen available to return power after an outage.

Prior to implementing ARCOS, when a customer called about a power outage, TID would first send a troubleshooter to assess the situation. If the troubleshooter requested a crew to complete the restoration, then the utility’s control center operator would make the calls to build a line crew. Hand dialing to assemble a crew could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on such factors as time and day of the week, weather and lineman availability.

According to TID managers, working from a paper list to find crew members could also lead to mistakes that spurred grievances about the equitable distribution of overtime hours for members of IBEW Local 1245. If an operator was working from a paper list to find linemen and looked away because a feeder tripped, he might skip a name on a call out list. While this was an honest mistake, it would lead to complaints.

“The cost of grievances and the fact that it was simply taking us too much time to put together a crew precipitated a move to an automated solution,” said James Ramos, Electrical Engineering and Operations Department manager for Power Operations, Turlock Irrigation District. “We have software for logging outages and outage coordination, but to turn something like that into an automated call out solution would require far too much customization if it could be done at all.

“We learned that ARCOS is widely used across the utility industry,” added Ramos. “It is the gold standard for callout systems.”

The TID ARCOS solution covers a combination of approximately 40 linemen along with control center operators and managers. Since putting the solution in place, TID control center operators now spend less time assembling line crews and the frustration felt by linemen for being skipped over as part of a call out for restoration work has been eliminated.

“We have not had a single grievance since implementing ARCOS,” remarked John Rover, Line Division manager for the Turlock Irrigation District.

About ARCOS, LLC

ARCOS® is the North American leader in delivering crew callout and crew management SaaS solutions to the utility industry. ARCOS automates crew assembly and 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 emergency resource management software at www.arcos-inc.com.

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Media contact: Bill Perry Mobile: 614-975-7538

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