Storm Restoration – Gas Utility

The following stories illustrate how ARCOS Resource Management solutions can be used to manage both planned and unplanned events for gas utilities. They are loosely based on real scenarios that have occurred.

A big storm is brewing and expected to hit with torrential rains and wind making it critical for gas utility companies to ensure that all the pipelines, pumping stations and homes in the floodplain and surrounding areas are in optimal condition. Jo, the Gas Dispatch Manager, was asked to send crews to help with inspections this week, now that the process is automated, the field is no longer using paper maps. All information for each inspection is sent to a worker’s smartphone.

Additionally, the tool provides much quicker reporting than prior inspections and instant visibility into the backup gas control facilities to ensure continuity of the systems.

In anticipation of the storm, Jo started planning for obtaining additional resources to handle any potential damage during and after the storm. Since the storm seemed to be traveling faster than predicted, Jo was glad to have technology equipped with tracking so she could visually see the real-time location of her field techs and assign them to areas quickly.

Three of her mechanics were out on vacation this week, but she quickly requested additional help from contractors through their new resource management portal to cover the additional work generated by the storm. The week was beginning to look hectic, but with the help of modern, web-based resource management solutions, there was reassurance in knowing numerous phone calls, tedious spreadsheets and time-consuming emails could be kept to a minimum.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help electric utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                         Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

Visual tracking of crews

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The storm was in full force. Evacuations were complete, and only first responders and emergency utility workers were in the area to monitor and respond. This morning, scouring caused a leak in the pipeline and Jo had to manage the response. Her emergency response team immediately shut down service and isolated the affected gas main.

By using the location services and crew management solution, Jo accesses maps and sees her current field technicians and their status, letting her know she needs to arrange additional resources. From within the same system, she’s able to set up and send a callout for those new crew members, including a custom message notifying them that one of the main roads was compromised and they need to take an alternate route.

While the crew management solution runs, she keeps an eye on other potential problem areas. Within minutes, a notification pops up on her screen that her crew request has been filled, and she switches back to her map to track their progress to the trouble location. Response time is shaved by several minutes, and she can locate her field members in case they find a complication or need backup.

Tomorrow the storm is expected to pass and they will begin inspecting all affected areas and gather more information to communicate to Incident Commanders and their Liaison team.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help gas utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                          Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

Visual tracking of crews

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The wait was over for Jo’s team. Flood waters receded and service restoration was underway. The storm compromised several gas mains and sections of pipeline, and Jo’s crews were working overtime to physically disconnect or reconnect all meters in the affected areas. The new inspection app helped technicians mark the meters as disconnected or connected and re-lit, document any damage, and send real-time updates. Technology provided Jo with an accurate representation of the situation in the field from her Ops Center.

Jo continued to monitor her crews on a map. Since they were already working overtime and the damage was more extensive than originally thought, she needed to add contractors quickly this morning. With an automated request, she secured 20 contractors in under an hour, and she tracked them to determine when they would arrive at the work site. With contractor crews integrated with her native crews in the resource management tool, Jo had an accurate and complete view of her workforce.

A customer reported to Jo that a third party cleaning up storm debris with a backhoe and loader accidentally damaged a pipeline. Jo quickly looked on the map to see which qualified technicians were closest and dispatched them with a notification includling accident details and the location of the emergency. Minutes later, they arrived on site. With the integrated resource management system, Jo assessed the situation in real-time, made the right decisions quickly and released the crews once the team completed restoration.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help electric utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                         Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

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Once crews had restored all service, Jo checked the progress on post-event inspections. There was some exposed pipeline in the floodplain. Inspectors in the field submitted repairs they had automatically captured on inspection forms via wireless technology, which linked the reports with the work management system that prepared crews for their next assignment.

As Jo logged into her email, she learned the utility’s board members requested a post-event report within 30 days, documenting restoration efforts and costs. Previously, a report like this would mean days of work to gather relevant data stored across several different platforms. With its resource management solutions integrated into one platform, in a few hours, Jo delivered minute-by-minute historical data on callouts,

scheduling, contractors, crews and other resources. She could look at any given time to see how many native and contract crews and which resources were part of the response.

Jo’s boss also forwarded a request from the local fire department for a report on how many customers crews restored and when pilot lights were re-lit. With the integration between the inspection application and the OMS, Jo reported on which customers had service, when they were reconnected, and any restoration delays due to a fix that was a customer’s responsibility (e.g., damage to appliances, plumbing, etc.) Last year when they had a similar large-scale event, it took three people, several days to compile similar reports. Jo used her Resource Management system (the utility’s system of record) to produce the reports, while her supervisors focused on their daily responsibilities and her utility’s efficiency increased dramatically.

ARCOS Resource Management Solutions can help gas utilities better plan for large-scale events in the following areas:

Incident Management                                         Contractor Management

Automated Call Outs                                            Damage Assessment

Crew Management                                               Mobile Inspections   

Visual tracking of crews

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