Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Upper Peninsula Power Company, utility subsidiaries of Integrys Energy Group, are putting in place the ARCOSSystem, software that automatically assembles emergency response teams when trouble strikes after hours. The hosted, Internet-based platform will deliver WPS and UPPCO real-time intelligence on: a crew member’s location, response time, skill level and restoration time.
The new system, which WPS and UPPCO are implementing, replaces a decade-old dispatch dialing system that the utilities have relied on to call emergency responders after hours. The implementation time for this project will be 12 weeks.
Dale Klimek, distribution operations supervisor for Wisconsin Public Service Corp., said, “A crew-callout system automates the process of finding which employees will be needed, what their skill set is, and when they’re on call. To get that from a dispatch dialing system, you’d have to bolt on some very complicated computer logic.”
Although WPS will use the new crew-callout system after regular business hours across its 19 operating centers and UPPCO’s six sites, the utility says the software is always available for use. For example, if a customer were to report an emergency during regular business hours to the utility’s call center, then an outage management system would generate a repair ticket. And a dispatcher could use the callout system to find the right crew to respond to that emergency in seconds. A dispatcher would have the choice to radio an emergency response team already in the field, or broadcast a message via the callout system to all crews regardless of their location.
The new crew-callout system can fire off voice or text messages to hundreds of employees in seconds, and inform them of unusual or emergency situations affecting their company facilities or customers. Before the ARCOS System contacts employees, it takes into account a complex set of pre-determined union workforce rules and regulations.
“The callout process should be tightly integrated with a utility’s operations in order to serve utility customers as quickly as possible,” said Mitchell McLeod, president and CEO of ARCOS, Inc. “A system that makes callout faster by taking into account all the complexities of assembling crews and tracking progress will restore power more rapidly for the customer and generate revenue sooner for the utility.”
Dispatchers and managers can access the new crew-callout system anywhere there’s an Internet connection. “With our old system, we had to be hardwired to our computer server room," Klimek added.
If WPS or UPPCO had to work off-site or evacuate its buildings, Klimek said the callout system “would still be available to mobilize emergency responders and restore service.”