Preparation for impending disasters costs utilities many millions of dollars, with it being estimated that the Orlando Utilities Commission spent $5.1 million on preparation for Hurricane Dorian.

The utility sector in the United States has faced multi-billion dollar disasters as a direct result of extreme weather incidents. These include almost $9.5 billion from the Northern Californian fires, $5 billion from tornados in the Southern and Midwest United States, $1.7 billion due to flooding in the Midwest and more than $350 billion due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International issue 1-2020. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

Coupled with the reality of ageing infrastructure and the challenge of keeping up with multiple investment requirements, and the scale of the undertaking begins to become clear.

Preparation for impending disasters costs utilities many millions of dollars, with it being estimated that the Orlando Utilities Commission spent $5.1 million on preparation for Hurricane Dorian. Similarly, Florida Power & Light spent $274 million on pre-Hurricane preparation.

Once disaster has struck and the area is deemed safe enough for restoration crews to move in and start repairs, a coordination effort of epic proportions begins. Coordinating out of state mutual response crews, local utility crews, vehicles, equipment, disposables and spare parts across thousands of people, many, many miles of land and work orders could easily overwhelm.

Carol Johnston, marketing manager, Clevest, believes that key to managing this kind of situation is a single platform which can receive and schedule work, plus activate and call out crews and mutual-aid workers, creating a digital map of the location of faults and repair crews. By having a single incident command overview of priorities, incoming damage assessments and repair,

utilities can more effectively manage a coordinated approach to an enormous task.

Such systems can allow the utility to track costs associated with the repair efforts in order to report such back to FEMA and for consideration when recovery of extraordinary costs is necessary. Such a system would track labour, vehicle, equipment and materials costs on a real time basis.

Advanced mobile workforce management technologies can improve outage restoration times by 10% or more, and the benefits of adding an event management solution for use in minor/single outages and major events is unparalleled. SEI

During DISTRIBUTECH

A live, on-site webcast will show how to activate crews, get a real-time overview of the event as it unfolds, enable control centres to communicate with stakeholders, and effectively plan a response. Specific focuses include how to speed up restoration time, improve communications, reduce liability and negative PR, and generate accurate records of work completed with timestamps, resource locations, event costs and more. Check your programme for more details: Tuesday, 28 January at 12:00pm Room 260 (2nd floor)