Press Releases

Stay up-to-date on the latest happenings at ARCOS, the leader in utility resource management solutions.

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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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.

 

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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Evolution of Grid, Crew Management Take Spotlight at ARCOS Conference

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Columbus, Ohio – February 29, 2016

ARCOS® LLC, a provider of crew callout and crew management solutions, will host 59 Canadian and U.S. electric, gas and power plant utilities at the 13th-annual ARCOS Conference in Chandler, Ariz., from March 6 – 9, 2016. Utility speakers from across North America will showcase how crew management technologies have evolved to enhance response time and performance metrics. Arizona Public Service will deliver the conference keynote session titled “Operating the grid like never before.”

The conference agenda includes roundtable discussions featuring emergency management experts from American Electric Power, Con Edison and Portland General Electric. Emergency management leaders from these utilities will facilitate an exchange of ideas on how to improve response time for gas leaks, emergent work and outages with ARCOS solution’s such as Crew Manager. Identifying efficiencies in the way utilities can manage resources and logistics during daily operations and major events is a focus of the sessions.

At the conference, ARCOS and its utility partners will present nearly 40 sessions including: what it takes to operate and maintain today’s changing electrical grid; improving response rates for first responders with the ARCOS Closest-to-the-Trouble solution; managing crew call outs from a mobile solution at Pacific Gas & Electric; and improving customer satisfaction with the ARCOS SIREN® Mass Calling solution.

“We’re again bringing together dozens of North America’s best utilities in a way that allows them to collaborate one-on-one, in small and large groups and via mobile technology; attendees will learn about and share the very best practices for managing emergencies, daily operations and crews,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive of ARCOS. “There are also numerous ad-hoc discussions and dedicated sessions for attendees to give input and recommendations that actually affect the design of ARCOS’s technologies.”

ARCOS will also provide conference participants an opportunity to attend ARCOS University, a line-up of how-to sessions offering benchmarks and case studies for getting the most out of ARCOS’s solutions. To review the conference agenda or register, visit http://bit.ly/1QA3Fvk.

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.

 

With ARCOS Crew Manager, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Looks to Save on Labor, Mutual Aid

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With ARCOS Crew Manager, Central Hudson Gas & Electric looks to save on labor, mutual aid Columbus, Ohio – January 12, 2016 – ARCOS® LLC will implement its Software-as-a-Service Crew Manager® product at Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. (Central Hudson) later this year to improve the speed with which the utility mobilizes crews to restore gas and electric service. The implementation is part of the utility’s internal process improvement initiative. Central Hudson identified the largely manual crew logistics portion of its storm-response process as an area that Crew Manager could automate.

ARCOS Crew Manager creates a centralized database that Central Hudson will use to rapidly position crews, contractors and mutual aid workers during restoration efforts.

“Crew Manager streamlines the storm side of our operations and gives us a level of visibility that we never had before; and it will automate building and tracking gas and electric crews on blue-sky days,” said Ryan Hawthorne, director of Dispatch Operations for Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

The team behind the initiative found that during major events Central Hudson worked doubly hard to manage the logistics and lodging for foreign crews.

“Our team identified a potential savings of $100,000 per $1 million spent on mutual aid,” added Hawthorne. “Our current system for handling foreign crew lodging and meals, for example, can be cumbersome and during major events requires our team to manage a large, unwieldy spreadsheet.”

Crew Manager’s tracking features accurately account for the housing and feeding of hundreds (or thousands) of company, contract and mutual aid crews. With reports from Crew Manager, Central Hudson can compare invoices from foreign crews with the work these crews perform, minute by minute.

“There won’t be any questions about where foreign crews were, what they accomplished or how long it took them to restore service for our customers,” said Hawthorne. “Crew Manager is a transformational change in terms of work management and the ability to track internal and external crews.”

Central Hudson will use Crew Manager around the clock. So dispatchers, supervisors and crews will be familiar with the tool regardless of the conditions. According to Hawthorne, automating crew management will give supervisors more time in the field to: monitor safety; ensure efficient work practices; and direct crews. Currently, Central Hudson’s supervisors can spend up to an hour per day planning work for the following day or re-aligning resources if a crew member is ill, training or away. The Crew Manager solution will also provide supervisors and dispatchers with centralized, automated visibility of activities such as vehicle usage. This can prevent, for example, the over assignment of a truck.

“We estimate the efficiencies in labor costs from using Crew Manager on blue-sky days will be $100,000 per year, which can then be applied to higher-valued tasks,” remarked Hawthorne. “It eliminates manual tasks such as building daily work plans with spreadsheets, using paper notes to juggle crews and trucks, and refresher training on a storm system that dispatchers might use only a few times per year.”

Once implemented, Crew Manager will store contacts for approximately 200 to 300 Central Hudson linemen, first- and second-line supervisors and gas mechanics. Crew Manager will complement the ARCOS Callout solution, which Central Hudson installed in 2005 to automate the call out of its crews.

About ARCOS, LLC

Twenty-four of the top 25 U.S. utilities rely on the ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling Suite. When the power goes out, a gas leak is reported or another emergency occurs, the award-winning, SaaS-based ARCOS Suite instantaneously finds, assembles and tracks repair crews, reducing outage interruptions and improving restoration time for electric, gas and power plant utilities. For more information, visit www.arcos-inc.com or call 614-396-5500. # # #

Grant Public Utility District Automates Callout of Electric Crews with ARCOS

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Columbus, Ohio – June 25, 2015

If an automobile collides with a power pole and knocks it down at midnight or lighting takes out a transformer over a holiday weekend, Grant Public Utility District can reach a small army of electric linemen and others in seconds to begin the process of restoration. Since May, Grant PUD, which serves 46,000 customers across Grant County, Wash., has launched more than 900 automated, outbound calls to assemble crews via the Saas-based ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling Suite.

Before May 2015, Grant PUD contacted crews via a manual process. When a power outage occurred after normal working hours, Grant PUD’s dispatchers would manually dial a list of workers to find available personnel to begin restoration work.

“Dialing each worker by hand for a callout could take as long as an hour,” says Chris Heimbigner, line superintendent for Grant PUD. “Dispatchers had to manually roll – or move people from the top to the bottom of a list – for each callout. With ARCOS, we took the manual process out of callouts.”

According to Heimbigner, Grant PUD learned about the ARCOS solution from Spokane, Wash.-based Avista Utilities, which uses the suite for assembling, managing and tracking electric and gas crews. The ARCOS solution automates the assembly of crews for emergency repair, filling a shift or special projects. And it strictly mirrors the work agreements in place between Grant PUD and IBEW Local 77 for callout and overtime rules.

“I do believe ARCOS has decreased outage duration and our response time,” adds Heimbigner. “We’re a huge county. And the system is new, and we’ve had to make adjustments moving from a manual process to an automated one, but we’ve had zero issues.”

After manual callouts, Heimbigner says he was regularly questioned about why one crew member was called before another or skipped over entirely. Digging into the reasons why manual calls were made in a particular order could take away hours each week from managing contracts and daily operations. With the automated system, Heimbigner now spends that previously lost time solving customer issues, ensuring safety and supporting engineering work. Heimbigner also sees the ARCOS solution’s reporting features helping Grant PUD with crew management. Being able to automatically review and confirm the outcome of each event and callout will give Grant PUD a view of where trouble areas are, who’s responding and how frequently crews respond. The ARCOS solution covers line workers; station operators; electricians; fiber technicians and fiber installers; customer service representatives; and transportation, facility and warehouse workers.

“The automated callout system removes the human element of calling people and saves hours of a dispatcher’s time,” says Grant PUD ARCOS Administrator Taffy Courteau. “The maintenance of our rosters and the sanctity of the order of calls is preserved.”

About ARCOS LLC

Twenty-four of the top 25 U.S. utilities rely on the ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling Suite. When the power goes out, a gas leak is reported or another emergency occurs, the award-winning, SaaS-based ARCOS Suite instantaneously finds, assembles and tracks repair crews, reducing outage interruptions and improving restoration time for electric, gas and power plant utilities. For more information, visit www.arcos-inc.com or call 614-396-5500.

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Hydroplants Automate Notifications to Customers, Public Officials

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Even when utilities try their best to get word out about a planned outage or change in water flow level, customers often say they never received information. Door hangers left by utilities on front doors can easily fall off or go unnoticed by consumers using a different entry point. Manually dialing municipalities downstream from a hydroelectric power plant requires time away from other operations, sometimes up to an hour or more.

Utility Workers Manage Call Out Schedules and Response with New ARCOS Mobile App

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ARCOS® LLC, a provider of crew callout and crew management systems and services for 24 of the top 25 U.S. utilities, has launched new features for its ARCOS Mobile application, which speeds up the call out of utility crews for emergencies such as electric outages, gas leaks or a power plant boiler tube leak. ARCOS Mobile provides easier access to the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite for utility managers and crews via a tablet, phablet or smartphone.

More than 50 Utilities to Attend 12th Annual ARCOS Conference for Crew Call Out and Crew Management

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ARCOS® LLC, a provider of crew callout and crew management solutions, will host more than 50 of America’s electric, gas and power plant utilities at the 12th-annual ARCOS Conference at the Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, S.C., from March 15 – 18, 2015. San Diego Gas & Electric – winner of the 2014 ReliabilityOne™ National Reliability Excellence Award – will deliver the conference keynote session titled “What does it take to become a reliable electric utility?”

Utility Execs Explain How to Centralize Crew Management Before and After Storms

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At DistribuTech 2015 in San Diego, Calif., executives from ComEd, Iberdrola USA and Northeast Utilities will join a panel to discuss new strategies and technology for automatically assembling and managing their crews as well as contractor and mutual aid crews before and after major restoration events. The panel begins on Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the San Diego Convention Center, room 24A.

J. Robert Welsh Power Plant Automates Call Out with ARCOS

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The J. Robert Welsh Power Plant near Mt. Pleasant, Texas, has chosen ARCOS® LLC to automate employee callout for emergent work, so supervisors can expedite crew response. The Welsh Power Plant – owned by Southwestern Electric Power Company, part of American Electric Power system – operates three 558-MW, coal-fired units and employs 100 craft workers and operators.

ARCOS Provides New Logistics Features in Latest Release of Crew Manager Software

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ARCOS® LLC has released new logistics features for its ARCOS® Crew Manager software to give utility storm managers a way to pre-arrange and track internal and external crews’ lodging, meals, staging areas, equipment and vehicles during major events. ARCOS Crew Manager creates a centralized database for utilities to rapidly position crews, contractors and mutual assistance crews during storm recovery efforts.

Ameren Speeds Up Restoration with ARCOS Crew Manager

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ARCOS ® LLC is putting in place its Software-as-a-Service Crew Manager product at Ameren Missouri to improve the speed with which the utility mobilizes crews to restore power. ARCOS Crew Manager creates a centralized database Ameren Missouri will utilize to rapidly position crews, contractors and mutual assistance workers during storm recovery efforts.

ARCOS Streamlines Service Restoration Process for Northeast Utilities

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ARCOS® LLC is implementing web-based software at Northeast Utilities, so New England’s largest utility system can tap a centralized callout and crew management database for deploying crews to restore gas and electric service. The ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite and ARCOS Crew Manager products will trim service restoration by several minutes.

ARCOS Hires Software Industry Veteran Ted Schneider as CTO, Names Mitch Chapman Product Chief

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ARCOS LLC has hired software industry veteran Ted Schneider as its new chief technology officer. Schneider will manage cloud operations, software development and product management. Mitch Chapman, who previously served as ARCOS CTO, becomes Chief Product Architect, a newly created position. Chapman will research new technologies and dive deeper into the design and development of the ARCOS platform.

Improving Utility Crew Management at 15th Annual Electric Operations Technical & Leadership Summit

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At this year’s Midwest Electric Association annual Electric Operations Technical & Leadership Summit in Springfield, Ill., Kimberly A. Smith, director of emergency preparedness for ComEd, and Kenneth Wagner, senior emergency preparedness administrator for ComEd, will present a session explaining how ComEd aims to improve crew management with a high-tech system for mobilizing and tracking utility repair crews.

PPL Electric Utilities Keynotes 11th Annual ARCOS Conference

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ARCOS LLC and its co-host American Electric Power have invited PPL Electric Utilities’ Ed Pringle to keynote the 11th Annual ARCOS Conference where he will show utility professionals how PPL recently integrated outage-management and callout technology with the goal of speeding up power restoration.

Ameren Missouri Automates Crew Call Out with ARCOS

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Ameren Missouri will soon replace a manual crew callout process with the Software-as-a-Service ARCOS Suite, which automatically calls and assembles crews to restore power. Electric utilities such as Kansas City Power & Light have installed the ARCOS Suite and note a 30-minute reduction in the storm CAIDI process because the utility reduced the time to identify and assemble available linemen.

New ARCOS Mobile App Gives Utilities Faster Way to Get Crews to Outages, Leaks

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ARCOS LLC, a developer of crew management, callout and emergency response software for 21 of the top 25 U.S. utilities, has launched the ARCOS Mobile application for the DROID™, iPhone® and Samsung Galaxy smartphones and other Android™ and iOS™ devices to speed up the call out of utility crews for emergencies such as electric outages, gas leaks or a power plant boiler tube leak.

ARCOS Takes Investment from the Riverside Company

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ARCOS, a maker of crew management, callout and emergency response software for 21 of the top 25 U.S. utility companies, has taken an investment from Cleveland-based private equity firm The Riverside Company to expand operations and reach the remaining U.S. utility market and other industries. The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm with extensive experience investing in high-growth software businesses.