Current outage management systems not making the grade


David E. Olsson,
Energy Group
Marlborough, MA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 24, 2013 – Current outage management systems are not up to today’s tasks for utilities in the U.S., with more than half in a new survey from BRIDGE Energy planning to upgrade or replace their OMS in the next two years, and a third of them to do so in the next year.

Of the more than 40 utilities surveyed, almost two thirds rated customer satisfaction and reducing outage restoration time as top priorities.Conversely, less than a quarter rated outage prediction as a high priority.

For these utilities, the estimated costs of outages were between $1 million and $30 million per year.

The survey also found that the current OMS project initiatives,which include 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. Furthermore, in relation to these initiatives, the top two concerns are the integration of related systems and availability of knowledgeable staff.

“The complexity of outage management implementations has sharply increased as the integration of smart meter data and analytics has become a core component of upcoming project plans,” said, David E. Olsson, CEO of BRIDGE Energy Group. “It is no longer enough to plan for the upgrade of a single system. Utilities are looking at multiple systems, with their individual complexities, and considering if they have the internal resources and know how to successfully and cost effectively delivery on an outage management transformation.”  

Other top projects for the coming year, according to the survey, are smart metering and related infrastructure, automated feeder switching, voltage and VAR optimization, SCADA upgrades and integration, and business intelligence and predictive analytics.