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Electric Utility Accelerates Crew Callout and Simplifies Resource Management

Investor owned utility shrinks callout time by nearly 80% and seamlessly manages its hybrid workforce with ARCOS Callout, Crew Manager, and Resource Assist.

650K

Customers Served

1,500

Square Miles Service Area

9,000

Miles of Distribution Lines

80%

Faster Callout Process

Inspiration For Change

Large Scale Callout Complexity

Seeking to reduce the high cost and improve response time of its manual callout process, a large US investor owned utility began using an automated callout system that it developed internally. However, the system did not accommodate complex business and union rules, often contacted more crew than were needed, and did not always contact the correct field staff, e.g., line workers who were on vacation or sick.

Challenges for Situational Awareness

Critical to storm restoration, the IOU needs a clear view of crew members, work assignments, and location, however slow callouts and not knowing who and how many resources were responding impeded situational awareness. The utility also wanted to digitize crew information, qualifications, and certifications (e.g., lead electrician, search-and-rescue, double certified), details that it had stored in physical filing rooms that limited access during fast paced restoration events.

Storm Cost Recovery

Filing claims with carriers and requesting reimbursement from government agencies is critical following major outages, however cost recovery efforts and accounting often took weeks of administrative time. The IOU wanted to simplify and reduce the time needed to capture data about the number and make-up of crews (employees and contractors), the nature of their work and how long their activities lasted.

Streamlining Blue Sky Work

Beyond storm response, the utility must manage a wide variety of routine and planned work on its system, such as replacing assets, construction, and trouble tickets. It wanted to improve callout efficiency for blue sky work and track crew KPIs in order to help individual crew members improve job performance, e.g., workers who have low callout acceptance rates.

Within minutes, we knew who was returning to work, which truck they were in and where they were located, resulting in faster response and quicker restoration, all thanks to ARCOS.
IOU Representative

ARCOS Platform Benefits

Reliable, Fully Automated Callout & Crew Management

The IOU partnered with ARCOS who deployed Callout, an automated utility service crew call out solution featuring business rules that equalize workload and opportunities, accelerating response time, restoration, and reporting for outages of any scale. To seamlessly manage crew assignments, native and non-native crews, and assets, the IOU also implemented ARCOS Crew Manager and Resource Assist.

Clear View of People, Work, and Assets

ARCOS enhances situational awareness by enabling the electric utility’s back office team to instantly find resources down to an individual with a special certification then drag that person’s icon together with a crew who needed the specialty and immediately launch the request to pair them up.

During storm response, ARCOS allows the IOU’s supervisors to create different scenarios in seconds by moving crews around a map to see how each movement of crews had a positive or negative chain reaction on restoration time, other service territory’s workloads and the availability of trucks and equipment. Crew Manager and Resource Assist also play an important role in post-response analysis by enabling management to playback storm response activities.

Simplified Reporting & Accounting

Following service restoration, the IOU has a wealth of data and KPIs available to generate a wide range of reporting, including detailed reports on the outcome for the Public Service Commission (PSC). What’s more, ARCOS empowers the utility to accelerate storm cost recovery by quickly providing management, carriers, and agencies with crew counts, amount and type of equipment damaged (and replaced) as well as the number of hours crews worked.

One Solution for Planned & Unplanned Work

The electric utility also utilizes ARCOS for routine work. The system automatically identifies available workers then contacts employees and contractors via phone and/or text following the utility’s business rules and records how every person responds while tracking response rate, allowing the IOU to proactively work with employees that fall below 50%.

Today, the IOU fulfills a callout in 6 minutes on average and as fast as 43 seconds in some cases. Plus, Crew Manager and Resource Assist enable the utility to seamlessly manage its hybrid workforce of full time employees and contractors, including non-native mutual assistance crews.

During a recent storm that cut power for 40,000 customers, the IOU made more than 250 callouts in just minutes with ARCOS, enabling the utility to restore power for its customers in less than 12 hours.

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Three circular graphics containing images of utility workers working on power lines and connected through ARCOS utility software

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