Revolutionising customer engagement

Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) has evolved from a predominantly paper-based utility to become more digital-centric. Twenty years ago, everything on the ops side of the system was on paper: paper maps, paper reports, paper-heavy responses whenever there were calls from customers or suspected system outages. There was even a paper-on-paper moment—a paper multiplier moment—to see if problems were close enough to group into larger responses across the system.

Today, that problem is solved without paper—through an entirely automated digital system dashboard that allows operators to do everything they had done manually faster and without the layering, shuffling, searching and by-hand and eye comparison.

KCP&L has crafted a unique extension to the standard Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for distribution automation (including fault location analysis) using Oracle Utilities Network Management System (NMS)—and some creative thinking and strategy. This extension enables the utility to increase visibility without increasing complexity for the operators, expand efficiency efforts into new urban and rural settings and boost operational performance.

In 2018, KCP&L merged with Westar Energy to bring their customers more savings, sustainable energy and solutions to meet every need.

The companies are combining operations, resulting in a stronger regional energy provider.

Originally, KCP&L had multiple software systems to help this local Midwestern US utility keep the lights on. In 2014, the utility took an opportunity to upgrade their systems which combined all those systems into one underneath the Oracle NMS umbrella. Now, realtime information is feeding into the outage management system and the operators have one dashboard to work from, which allows the operators to respond quicker and more efficiently to any detected faults or customer queries. “We’re talking about outages that impact thousands of customers restored in a couple of minutes,” said Dan Munkers, KCP&L Senior Manager of DSO.

This article was originally published in The Global Power & Energy Elites 2020. Read the full article here