COLUMBUS, OH- February 15, 2012
Automating callout caught the attention of Sam Houston Electric Cooperative Chief Operations Officer David Babcock because he wants his dispatchers to focus on monitoring the utility’s IT systems, not calling linemen for emergency work. Babcock’s goal is to make sure dispatchers concentrate on the activities that improve reliability. To make that happen, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative will put in place a newly purchased ARCOS(SM) Suite this May. The internet-based software, hosted by ARCOS, will free dispatchers from combing through electronic spreadsheets and files for the names of linemen who are available to restore power. The software locates and assembles utility repair crews after normal business hours, while factoring in any labor agreements dictating the order of calls.
“During a major outage, manual callout is a high-maintenance task that can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one and a half hours for dispatchers to complete,” said Babcock. “We’re a small utility with limited resources. The ARCOS Suite will allow our dispatchers to focus on monitoring our SCADA system, video from substations, security and technology in the dispatch center, instead of picking up the phone to locate and assemble line crews.”
Sam Houston Electric Cooperative’s service territory covers 10 Texas counties, 6,000 miles of line and 200,000 poles. Approximately 60 linemen are on call to restore power if the lights go out. Babcock says the cooperative studied how much time, on average, it takes to bring together line crews who then travel to the scene of an outage. The utility believes it can significantly improve how fast that process is accomplished with ARCOS automating the assembly and dispatch of crews.
In the rare instance that the Texas electric cooperative faces an outage requiring more help than its linemen can provide, Babcock says ARCOS could play a role.
“Sam Houston Electric Coop wants to reach its list of available linemen in a few seconds with ARCOS, then determine if it needs to call contractors for more help,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive officer for ARCOS. “An automated callout system is going to help Sam Houston Electric Coop make that determination in seconds as opposed to an hour or more.”
Because of its size, Babcock says his electric cooperative has to have a good business purpose before purchasing anything. “The cost of ARCOS compared to our other technology systems was a fairly small investment when compared to the fairly big problem it solves,” said Babcock.
About ARCOS, Inc.
Eighteen of the top 25 U.S. utilities rely on the ARCOS Automated Crew Callout and Resource Management System. When the power goes out or other emergency situations occur, the award-winning, web-based ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite instantaneously finds, assembles and tracks repair crews, thus reducing outage interruptions and improving restoration time for electric, gas and power plant utilities. For more information, visit www.arcos-inc.com.