Data Driven Outage Restoration

We see and read about it in the news, in articles, in countless infographics, no matter how you look at it the word is out. Data is everywhere. Data is growing. There is no living without it. It can do wonders!

Such was witnessed at the data driven outage restoration summit this past month in Miami, Florida hosted by Florida Light and Power and facilitated by HansonWade. Here utilities presented, discussed and shared practices about reducing the ETR, improving preparedness for emergency situations created from more and more frequent large weather patterns.

Using data becomes critical in many cases. Therefore it was noted that proper data collection must be in place, data quality and data governance become essential functions that must be housed within the utility.

Some of the highlights of using reliability related data were the following:

  1. Integrating OMS and AMI systems in utilities have proven most beneficial for some utilities who have managed to shave off 10 minutes on ETRs. Adding unstructured data from the field for damage assessment through photos and text descriptions has allowed utilities to send proper tools, parts and prepared crews, again facilitating and improving ETR.
  2. One presenter identified social media as a key in identifying existing outages that they may not have been aware of. Through continuous mining of social media sites, they were able to identify small outages that their own systems fail to respond to in a timely manner.
  3. Another utility used voltage fluctuations on smart meters to make initial contact with their customer to say they would be sending out crews to fix the meter and prevent an outage. One customer refused and four hours later was found without power.

With modern technology we are better able to monitor data, analyse it, and offer preventive solutions to outages that become key in maintaining utility services and customer satisfaction. With the advent of new tools and new analytical technics one can argue that with greater data comes greater insight.