BRIDGE Energy Group, a utility business consulting and systems integration solutions provider, has released the results from its utility industry survey on outage management.
BRIDGE surveyed more than 14,000 utility employees about their views and experiences in outage management. Results show that 53% of respondents plan to upgrade or replace their existing outage management system (OMS) in the next one to two years. Additional initiatives described as top projects planned for 2012-2013 include smart metering and related infrastructure, automated feeder switching, volt/VAR optimization, SCADA upgrades, system integration, business intelligence and predictive analytics.
The survey revealed that the current OMS project initiatives — including consideration of cloud-based solution, integrating smart meter outage inputs, and integrating OMS, GIS and EMS — are leading the push to upgrade or replace existing systems. As these initiatives are pursued, the survey further uncovered that the integration of related systems and availability of knowledgeable staff ranked as the two top concerns.
“Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy demonstrate the importance of moving beyond traditional outage management to develop true restoration management capability. Knowing where the outages are isn't enough to restore power quickly and satisfy stakeholders,” said Forrest Small, vice president of Grid Optimization Strategy at BRIDGE. “Utilities have to process information from many sources, make good decisions in real time, and communicate clearly and continuously internally and externally. Knowing how to integrate new technologies with existing operational systems and business requirements is critical to strong restoration performance.”
Restoration management was a top priority for 64%. This fact was no doubt related to their stated goal of improving customer service as well as the cost of their outages ranging between $1 million and $30 million.