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PA Consulting Honors Utilities for Reliability

Oct. 26, 2015
Florida Power & Light Company Takes Top Honor at the 15th Annual ReliabilityOne Awards Ceremony - Receives National ReliabilityOne Excellence Award

PA Consulting Group has announced the recipients of the 15th Annual ReliabilityOne Awards. These recognize North American utilities in a number of critical industry categories including: reliability, storm response, technology and innovation, and customer engagement.  PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne Awards are widely considered one of the most prestigious honors in the electric utility industry, recognizing organizations that provide their customers with the highest levels of reliability.

For the 2014 calendar year, PA recognized six regional large investor owned utilities across the U.S. The selections were based on overall system wide performance in both outage duration and frequency. In addition, PA awarded its annual National ReliabilityOne Excellence Award to the one investor-owned utility that demonstrated superior leadership, innovation and achievement in the area of electric reliability. PA also recognized three winners for Outstanding Reliability Performance for Midsize Utilities.

“The ReliabilityOne Awards program recognizes electric utilities for providing customers with the highest levels of reliability in the industry,” said Jeff Lewis, PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne Program Director. “With the energy industry continuing to be challenged by new regulations and threats such as cyber-attacks, it is imperative that we recognize the leaders in this industry who are paving the way with innovative technology and superior customer engagement.  Our ReliabilityOne recipients take great pride in protecting the reliability of the electric system.”

Additional categories selected from those honored included the utility that had the Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event, Outstanding System-Wide Reliability, Outstanding Customer Engagement, Outstanding Technology and Innovation, and Outstanding Outage Response Time. 

PA also recognized several individuals for outstanding personal achievement in the area of electric reliability including Lisa Primeggia of Con Edison, Jorge Valdes of Florida Power & Light, and Jim Prothero of We Energies.

National ReliabilityOne Excellence Award recipient:
PA’s National ReliabilityOne Excellence Award goes to a company that is a consistent top performer in the industry.  The utility honored is one that has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to maintaining reliability for their customers from every level of the organization.
This year’s National ReliabilityOne Excellence Award was presented to Florida Power & Light Company.

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is an incredibly focused organization that is embracing technology and innovation as they address critical issues affecting reliability for their customers. FPL is focused on all aspects of reliability including momentary outages, power quality, sustained outages and storm response. FPL’s continued investment in new technology and innovation has allowed them to take significant steps toward strengthening their infrastructure, enhancing analytics, developing real time monitoring and predictive capabilities, providing field crews with extraordinary information, pushing the envelope on research and development, and maximizing efficiency. The overall result is better service quality for their customers. 

This year’s six regional ReliabilityOne Award recipients are:
Northeast Region – Consolidated Edison Company of New York
Mid-Atlantic Region – Public Service Electric & Gas Company
Southeast Region – Florida Power & Light Company
West Region – San Diego Gas & Electric (10th Anniversary)
Midwest Region – We Energies
Plains Region – Xcel Energy Minnesota

Outstanding Reliability Performance for Midsize Utility Award recipients are:
Midsize Utility – Indianapolis Power & Light Company
Midsize Utility – Mississippi Power Company
Midsize Utility – PNM, Public Service Co. of New Mexico

2015 ReliabilityOne Award recipients for Outstanding Performance are:
Outstanding Customer Engagement – Public Service Electric & Gas Company
Outstanding Technology & Innovation – Florida Power & Light Company
Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event – San Diego Gas & Electric
Outstanding System-Wide Reliability – Consolidated Edison Company of New York
Outstanding Outage Response Time – Public Service Electric & Gas Company

Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) received the award in the category of Outstanding Customer Engagement. PSE&G received the award for successfully managing multiple channels to ensure that key stakeholders including customers, regulators, government officials, and the media all receive clear and consistent messaging during both blue-sky and major events. PSE&G’s corporate communications department manages amongst the industry’s largest social media engagement with over 72K Twitter followers, nearly 60K Facebook followers, more than 1.2M email accounts, and a significant presence on LinkedIn. Supporting these channels PSE&G’s dedicated blog, Energize, ensures that customers have access to key programs such as their Energy Strong storm resiliency and hardening effort, solar loan and energy efficiency programs reach their expansive customer base.

In addition, PSE&G has a proactive approach to communications. They harness their website, online outage map, press releases, both email and text communications, and a dedicated portal for its municipalities to ensure customers are aware of its major event and storm restoration activities. These can include outage maps, estimated time of restoration, resource allocation and status, and other key points throughout the course of an event: before, during, and after.

Coupled with their impressive Regional Public Affairs and Customer Contact organizations, PSE&G is continuously investigating ways to improve its messaging, website, and customer preference capabilities.

Florida Power & Light Company won this year’s Technology & Innovation Award. Florida Power & Light (FPL) leadership has continued to embrace the benefits that new technology can provide to enhance their overall outage restoration and management process.  This has encouraged innovation both within the organization and from its vendors to achieve exceptional results.

FPL employees also enhanced their mobile application, which is capable of running on both tablets and smart phones. It incorporates mobile damage assessment as well as an unparalleled level of outage information.  The application provides the entire organization with insight to guide decisions regarding system status, troubleshooting and restoration status. Through their application, both field staff and management have the ability to instantly “ping” (query status of customers’ electric supply) meters and maintain full situational awareness during any outage in real-time.  The system also empowers field crews as ambassadors of the company by providing them with customer information regarding reliability and historic power quality.  FPL’s system provides a level of reliability and customer information that is leading in the industry.

PA awarded San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) the recognition for Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event for its efforts during the May 2014 wildfires. Having recognized the risks presented from significant droughts affecting California, SDG&E used state-of-the-art computing and advanced analytics to monitor the largest utility weather network in the world and track winds on every high risk circuit every ten minutes.  This ensured response and restoration activities could be conducted strategically. Ultimately, 12 wildfires affected their service territory over six days interrupting over 50,000 customers, destroying 65 structures, 46 homes, and causing over $60M in damages.

SDG&E worked with local agencies to ensure crews and firefighters were mobilized and prepared in advance, which ultimately minimized response times. In addition, SDG&E proactively managed “at-risk” circuits to ensure public safety, maintained proactive and consistent communications throughout the event to notify customers of imminent danger situations, and provided advanced warning of extended power outages. 

Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison) was awarded PA’s Outstanding System-Wide Reliability for the eighth year in a row for providing its customers with system wide reliability that is 85 percent better than the industry average. Con Edison incorporates planning criteria for outage contingencies that are more stringent than the majority in the industry. As a result of this substantial investment, the average customer on Con Edison’s system can expect an outage about once every ten years. 

Public Service Electric & Gas Company captured the title for Outstanding Outage Response Time, which recognized the best outage response time for customers experiencing an outage out of the Regional ReliabilityOne winners.  PSE&G restored customers 30 percent faster than other large investor owned utilities.  PSE&G field crews pride themselves on fast response times and creative approaches to restoring power to customers as quickly as possible.

Jeff Lewis added, “Now in its 15th year, the ReliabilityOne Awards have helped bring recognition to those utilities that have maintained the highest level of reliability, brought outstanding innovation to their operations and placed the highest value on their customers.”

The award reception was held at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Miami, Florida before an audience that included senior management of leading utilities, union representation, and leading energy industry experts. This year’s event also included an Executive Forum where panelists from PA, Florida Power & Light, and Pepco Holdings, Inc. discussed the pressing topic of cyber security for utilities and why it is more than just NERC CIP compliance.

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