After Irma, we did a little digging into the impact automated damage assessment can have on a utility. After a string of Nor’easters we are reminded again of the impact effective damage assessment has on restoration efforts.
A recent conversation with executives of five, top North American utilities revealed that, on average, during a major event, a full-time equivalent (FTE) for restoration costs roughly $2,500 per day, including meals and lodging.
The first nor’easter hit on March 2. According to ABC News, on March 9, 500,000 people were still without power. While utilities conduct assessment and restoration in tandem, reducing restoration by just one day can have a big impact on sending out the right crews to fix damage faster.
Let’s say that a utility required 1,000 more FTEs to help with restoration at a cost of $2,500 per day, which would tally roughly $2.5 million per day.
Many utilities still conduct damage assessments manually. Here’s what’s involved in what we call an “Open Loop Damage Assessment Process.”
- Printing of maps
- Assigning damage tickets and maps to assessors
- Assessors collect and report damage by hand, on printed maps
- Driving back to the storm center with maps notating damage
- Aggregating all the notations on each map to a) make sense of it, and b) determine a game plan for repair
- Someone else manually entering the status of the damage ticket in the Outage Management System and creating a work ticket
- Beginning the routing process for work tickets
You can get rid of all of the “Open Loop Damage Assessment Process” using automated damage assessment, which means:
- electronically sending maps and damage tickets to the field; and
- having assessors in the field electronically note damage and send via wireless communication their reports back to the storm center as they are completed.
As these reports come in, they could automatically update the Outage Management System, which would trigger a work ticket sent electronically to a repair crew that would start restoring power.
At an estimated cost of $2.5 million per day, reducing restoration by just one day represents a remarkable saving for the utility. It also puts the community back online and back to work and gives customer satisfaction a boost.
Want to know more? Call us, so we can share how customers are using ARCOS Damage Assessment to improve efficiency and reduce restoration time. Check out our events page for our upcoming Damage Assessment web demos, too.