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ARCOS LLC provides resource management solutions to help utilities respond, restore and report to daily planned and unplanned events. Our solutions focus on people and automating processes that help utilities get resources to the field faster.

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Understanding the Relationship between Utility Automation Platforms and CAIDI/SAIDI Metrics

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Improving CAIDI and SAIDI indices is a goal of every utility. The scores reflect greater reliability, a care in the communities served, and a promise of superior customer service. Utilities caught with their power out for an extended period or grid failure indicates the need for investigating a few specific areas including resource management, system configuration or system hardening. Mounting a reaction to consumer ire and a regulatory focus on response and restoration time is avoidable when utilities pay attention and react to these vital metrics.

The definition of the metrics are:

  • CAIDI (Customer Average Interruption Duration Index): Sum of outage Customer Minutes of Interruption (CMIs)/Sum of outage Customers Interrupted (Cis)

  • SAIDI (System Average Interruption Duration Index): Sum of outage CMIs/Total number of customers served

When looking at resource management how can automation help lower CAIDI and SAIDI scores?

When a utility responds to the cascading impacts of an outage event or conducts daily grid maintenance, following a well-established, interrelated set of industry practices ensures safe and efficient operations.

These practices include:

  • crew scheduling, and dispatch
  • generating and assignment of work orders
  • crew, vehicle, and tool tracking
  • real-time reporting to crews, operations, utility executives and regulators

Until recently – and still for many utilities – these practices have been analog in nature, using pen and paper, whiteboards, and sticky notes. However, as technology has advanced, optimizing and automating their execution has added efficiency, reliability, real-time visibility and a lower cost to utility operations through the design of third party software tools into the utility-specific operations during the full life-cycle of field activity.

The cooperative dynamic between the utility and their trusted vendor directly influences a utility’s ability to rapidly dispatch and communicate with field personnel, which in turn directly affects their CAIDI and SAIDI reliability metrics.

Time-consuming manual processes drain valuable time and attention away from rapid outage assessment, which inflates CAIDI and SAIDI scores. The addition of automation software throughout the industry decreases response and service restoration time, easing the compliance burden on utilities, reducing operational expenses and, understandably, increasing customer satisfaction.

Another application of automated crew callout software “reduced by up to 60 minutes the time it takes to identify and assemble crews for restoration work.” With rapid crew communication, CAIDI and SAIDI scores dropped.

In addition to crew scheduling software, other automation tools on the market include GIS-based damage assessment, mobile inspection and incident command system roll-out. When filtered through analytics engines, the data from these automated tools can further streamline and reduce the cost of operations.

Automation also helps utilities plan and coordinate with federal outage recovery efforts as itemized in the FEMA document Power Outage Incident Annex, which urges utilities to maintain data on the following metrics:

  • Power outage statistics
  • Customers impacted/without power
  • Damage assessment and estimates of duration of power outages, and status of restoration
  • State of utility systems, current limitations and capabilities, resource requirements, and recovery strategy
  • Status of all types of fuel, status of generation, substation, line facilities

Automating utility operations generates faster callout, resource availability, work assignment, dispatch, restoration, reporting times, internal and external communications, decision making and results in lower CAIDI and SAIDI metrics. This is a win-win for utilities, customers, regulatory compliance and national security.

Jim Nowak's picture

Thank Jim for the Post!

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