Installing a new outage management system will help WPS lessen the impact of outages for the approximately 450,000 electric customers it serves in Wisconsin. Dispatchers and field personnel can see a single view of all outage information, as well as attach documents and photos to an outage order, helping repairs take place more quickly and efficiently.
Installing a new outage management system will help WPS lessen the impact of outages for the approximately 450,000 electric customers it serves in Wisconsin. Dispatchers and field personnel can see a single view of all outage information, as well as attach documents and photos to an outage order, helping repairs take place more quickly and efficiently.
Installing a new outage management system will help WPS lessen the impact of outages for the approximately 450,000 electric customers it serves in Wisconsin. Dispatchers and field personnel can see a single view of all outage information, as well as attach documents and photos to an outage order, helping repairs take place more quickly and efficiently.
Installing a new outage management system will help WPS lessen the impact of outages for the approximately 450,000 electric customers it serves in Wisconsin. Dispatchers and field personnel can see a single view of all outage information, as well as attach documents and photos to an outage order, helping repairs take place more quickly and efficiently.
Installing a new outage management system will help WPS lessen the impact of outages for the approximately 450,000 electric customers it serves in Wisconsin. Dispatchers and field personnel can see a single view of all outage information, as well as attach documents and photos to an outage order, helping repairs take place more quickly and efficiently.

Wisconsin Utility Deploys New OMS Remotely

July 23, 2020
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, WPS opted for a different approach to rolling out its new outage management system.

Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), which serves about 450,000 electric customers in northeast and north central Wisconsin, experiences a variety of severe weather conditions. In the spring and summer months, severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and tornadoes can move through this region. From late fall through early spring, snowstorms drop multiple inches of heavy, wet snow and blow strong winds.

By upgrading its outage management system (OMS), the utility looked to more accurately pinpoint outage locations and affected equipment, which help crews to begin repairs and restore service to customers sooner.

Expediting Power Restoration

WPS regularly performs upgrades to its systems and equipment as part of its ongoing focus on providing safe, reliable service to its customers. Installing an upgraded outage management system (OMS) provides the utility with the latest software and tools so it can better serve its customers.

By transitioning to a new OMS from Hexagon, WPS can obtain additional details about an outage and plot outages on a map to determine more efficient restoration options. In addition, the employees can add document or photo attachments to outage orders from desktop or mobile devices.

The utility can provide dispatchers and field personnel with a consolidated view of all available information about an outage, including the number of customers affected, the status of repairs and a map showing where the affected equipment is located. This information will help operations personnel more rapidly and efficiently assign lineworkers, materials and equipment, reducing the length of the outage for the affected customers.

Transitioning to the New System

Upgrading its OMS from Hexagon during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, presented a new set of challenges. To safeguard the workforce, Hexagon’s safety and infrastructure division recently completed a fully-remote deployment of the OMS.

To ensure a smooth transition, the team at WPS worked closely with Hexagon’s staff to develop a detailed plan for each portion of the installation. During the installation of its new OMS, the utility used a conference call and video conferencing software so everyone involved knew what process was underway and what the next step was in the overall plan. Reviewing the installation plan several times and maintaining good communication throughout the process led to a successful upgrade of the OMS system.

WPS was able to train its staff members on both the desktop OMS and the mobile device version in person prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and Wisconsin’s associated Safer at Home order.

Realizing the Benefits

The WPS field personnel have responded positively to new OMS, particularly with its ability to attach documents and photos to an outage order. This gives field crews the ability to see the damage that has caused an outage and the steps needed to repair it before they arrive on scene. They also can attach photos or documents to an outage order before it is completed for future reference. The delivery of outage orders to the field crews has not changed from the installation of the utility’s new OMS system, as it is an upgrade of the previous system provided by Hexagon.

Faced with summer thunderstorms in its north woods and winter ice and snowstorms, WPS continuously looks for ways to reduce the length of time power outages affect its customers. The new OMS helps to expedite power restoration following these severe weather events.

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