The weather in the U.S. posed a challenge to the energy and utility industry in 2016. Nationwide, companies strived to ensure resources, logistics networks, and mutual aid arrangements were in order. At the same time, microgrids became a viable distributed energy alternative to traditional infrastructure investments, and utilities implemented a number of technological tools to enhance the consumer experience and minimize outages.
“The guiding theme for this year’s winners is resiliency. The nation’s top utilities are becoming more innovative and implementing technologies to better protect against storm damage,” said Gregg Edeson, PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne™ Program Director.
Edeson added: “The more advanced next generation utilities are working to communicate in real time with customers who are facing outages. This includes the extensive use of social media channels and proactive outreach to customers and elected officials for storm planning and restoration updates.”
For 17 years, PA has been conducting reliability analyses of the nation’s electric utility industry based on publicly available information on the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), which provides the average outage duration per customer, and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI), which measures the average number of interruptions per customer. The indices showed an increase in IOU (investor-owned utility) average outage duration by almost ten minutes in 2016 to 118.6 minutes, likely due to increased storm severity. Key to the utility reliability trend data is PA’s in-depth analysis undertaken as part of the process to identify the top performing utility and winner of the National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award.
PA’s certification and analyses of the utilities in the ReliabilityOne™ program found that:
- Overall, the 2016 average system outage duration was longer than 2015, likely due to increased storm activities.
- Average SAIDI performance of the regional ReliabilityOne™ winners increased by about 1 minute, versus the national panel average of 10 minutes.
- Advanced utilities are becoming more innovative and using technology to better prepare for storm damage and the resulting restoration.
- Companies are refining logistics, mutual aid arrangements, and material inventories to accommodate additional resources during major storm events. They are working to ensure that data is available, accurate, and complete so repair crews are dispatched quickly with a better understanding of what repair work will be required. Once in the field, crews can use mobile devices to update conditions and restoration times – data that can be swiftly conveyed to customers.
- Utilities are using technology including automated outage isolation assets, analytics provided by AMI and SCADA, drones for in-field damage assessments, and high-resolution cameras to monitor fires during dry, windy days.
- Microgrids and storage are becoming viable means to improve reliability in remote areas.
- ETR (Estimated Time of Restoration) is playing a larger role in customer communications, and companies are realizing the importance of shaping customer expectations with accurate ETRs.
The ReliabilityOne™ Awards recognize North American utilities that excelled during the 2016 calendar year 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 to be one of the most prestigious honors in the electric utility industry, recognizing organizations that provide their customers with the highest levels of reliability.
PA also recognized six regional ReliabilityOne™ winners from utilities across the U.S. based on overall system-wide SAIDI and SAIFI performance. One utility received the Outstanding Reliability Performance for Midsize Utility award, and additional categories honored the utilities that provided Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event, Outstanding Customer Reliability Experience, and Outstanding Technology and Innovation.
A list of all winners are as follows:
National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award recipient:
This year’s National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award was presented to We Energies
The National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award goes to the utility that demonstrates a balance of operational skills, data processing, customer focus, and technology deployment. For 2016, We Energies excelled across all these categories in terms of outage restoration practices, real time outage diagnostics, sophisticated fault locating technology, comprehensive data capture and review, proactive customer outreach programs, innovative customer self-serve options, use of outage and equipment data for asset decisions, and automated outage restoration.
This year’s six Regional ReliabilityOne™ Awards 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
Midwest Region – We Energies
Plains Region – Kansas City Power and Light Company
ReliabilityOne™Outstanding Reliability Performance for Midsize Utility Award recipient is:
Midsize Utility – Indianapolis Power & Light
ReliabilityOne™ Award recipients for specific areas of outstanding performance are:
Outstanding Response to a Major Outage Event – Florida Power & Light Company
Outstanding Customer Reliability Experience – Kansas City Power and Light Company
Outstanding Technology and Innovation – San Diego Gas & Electric
Edeson added: “As PA’s National ReliabilityOne™ Excellence Award winner, we recognized We Energies for their focus on grid modernization, restoration, and data management processes. They are a consistent top performer in the industry.”
The awards reception was held at the House of Blues in New Orleans before an audience that included energy industry experts and senior management of leading utilities.
For more information on PA Consulting Group’s work in the energy market, please visit: http://www.paconsulting.com/energy
For more information on PA Consulting Group’s ReliabilityOne™ Awards, please visit: http://www.paconsulting.com/reliabilityone
About PA Consulting Group
A firm of over 2,600 people, we operate globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics, the Gulf and Asia Pacific. We are experts in consumer and manufacturing, defense and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, and transport, travel and logistics. Our deep industry knowledge together with skills in management consulting, technology and innovation allows us to challenge conventional thinking and deliver exceptional results that have a lasting impact on businesses, governments and communities worldwide. Our clients choose us because we don’t just believe in making a difference. We believe in making the difference. For more information about PA Consulting Group, visit www.paconsulting.com.
PA’s ReliabilityOne™ awards are presented to electric utilities providing their customers with the highest levels of reliability in the industry. PA’s ReliabilityOne™ study is based on standard industry reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of electric power outages and has been analyzing electric utility performance since 1987. For more information about PA Consulting Group, visit www.paconsulting.com/energy.
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SOURCE PA Consulting Group
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