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APPA on Automation for Outage Reporting and Reliability Tracking

A recent American Public Power Association blog shows how in-home devices are having transformative beneficial impacts on our lives, and on the grid

A recent blog by the American Public Power Association provides the following valuable perspective for us, as we grapple “with operating in a changing industry,” advising that “we should look to leverage technological trends to collect data and create actionable information from it.”

“…The eReliability Tracker, a web-based application that helps public power utilities with reliability tracking, reporting, and analysis, was our first foray into offering an information service.

From the get go, the service has helped utilities capture data and use it to improve operations. It has also transformed the way we view reliability. Utility managers can use data to inform their decision-making to focus system improvement expenditures, easily determine if the utility’s performance has improved over time, or check how reliable their service is compared with a neighboring utility.

Both the service and public power utilities benefit from high levels of community participation. We’re proud that many utilities have joined the eReliability Tracker system. This community of public power utilities help each other learn and grow as they go down the path of increasing the reliability of their systems.

We know this community is hungry for more. More information and more automation. An advanced way to track and use all the collected data. In the past two years, the top user request for enhancements has been the ability to pass data from utility outage management systems (OMS) directly to the eReliability Tracker.

Now users can auto-magically push their OMS data directly from one system to the next. A new application programming interface (API) allows the eReliability Tracker to send and receive outage data with utility OMS systems. Working with your OMS vendor, you can now securely pass your utility’s outage data to the eReliability Tracker without the additional manual effort of entering outages into both systems separately.

During the development of the API, DataVoice, a public power-friendly OMS vendor, happily stepped up to help pioneer this feature for public power utilities. DataVoice created a simple and effective user interface on their systems to easily push new data or edit existing outage information in the eReliability Tracker within seconds. With this simple interface, the City of New Bern in North Carolina, City of Gastonia in North Carolina, and CDE Lightband in Tennessee were able to successfully integrate the eReliability Tracker with DataVoice.

We expect this automation will help users to conduct better analysis, advanced reporting, and enhanced benchmarking. If you have an OMS system that tracks the data for you, going down this path could help avoid mistakes when entering outages as well as prevent the duplication of efforts. To put it simply, the new API could help your utility by providing more data, more accurately, and on a more regular basis making benchmarking better for everyone.

The original APPA blog is at this link.

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