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Two ARCOS employees discussing resource management in a lounge

COVID-19 has caused trouble for many industries, but the utility sector has continued to quickly respond to customers and events while prioritizing safety. When requirements and recommendations were handed down and put into place, the sector became early adopters in the fight against the coronavirus. They went above and beyond to ensure that the safety of their teams, customers, and the public remained intact. Being precautious never hurt anyone, and in the power industry’s case, it has led to new ways of working and resource management that may have even sped up response and restoration times. How will the utility’s 2020 efforts shape CAIDI, SAIDI, and SAIFI indices?  

CAIDI, SAIDI, and SAIFI are the reliability indicators that the electric industry lives by.  Made of metrics like customer interruption duration, the total number of customers served, and failure rates, the indices demonstrate how efficient and effective a utility is at fixing disruptions and getting power back on for their customers. Utilities use these numbers in reporting to regulators and the customers they serve. After consolidation and averaging in late spring, utilities receive their numbers.

While most disruptions are identifiable (vegetation growth, storm damage, regulatory changes, etc.), the COVID-19 pandemic was an unknown challenge and had the potential to be a significant disturbance. The fear existed that whole crews could be virus incapacitated for weeks on end, and that would halt the never-ending cascade of everyday work and after-event power restoration. An additional worry was COVID-19 could trigger CAIDI, SAIDI, and SAIFI indices to plummet and erase the industry’s hard-fought gains in these areas.

Thanks to much thought, automation, and quick action, the primary outlook on the pandemic’s influence is a positive one. CAIDI, SAIDI, and SAIFI numbers appear to remain strong and, in most cases, non-affected. The power industry rolled out measures to mitigate COVID-19’s isolating and distancing effects prove to be a success. ARCOS outlined some of the actions here, including:

  • Creation of work pods and pre-determined crews
  • Enabling crews the ability to accept work tickets remotely  on mobile devices
  • Digital managing of equipment, hotel logistics, and travel logging
  • Employee contact tracing
  • ICS scaling
  • Ensuring social distancing through remote technology

These strategies were maintained by using solutions like ARCOS Mobile Workbench and Callout. There is now even a way for a manager to perform a callout from home or wherever they happen to be, eliminating the need for traveling to a crowded office, and saving response and restoration time.

While the jury is still out on the impact COVID-19 may have had on CAIDI, SAID, and SAIFI, the utility industry’s ability to pivot, change procedures, and implement new solutions gives confidence that the numbers will remain strong and enhanced in many situations. We look forward to the full report and congratulate the utility industry for their innovative thinking against a new work and resource management adversary.


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