Case Studies

Enhancing power outage communications & restoration with GIS

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Challenge When severe storms cause power outages in New Brunswick, large numbers of NB Power customers, as well as concerned citizens both inside and outside the province, require constant updates on areas affected and the estimated times of restoration. Prior to November 2014, NB Power communicated power outage updates primarily through its Web site or an outage hotline managed by a call centre. Outage information on NB Power's Web site was displayed in text format in a table, which left customers sifting through rows of tabular information that often didn't make sense to the average citizen. High inbound call volumes during severe outages required NB Power to temporarily scale up its call centre capacity, increasing operational costs. NB Power sought a more effective way to communicate up-to-date outage information to reduce inbound calls to their call centre while also helping customers appreciate the magnitude of impact during a storm event. Emergency power restoration efforts are managed by NB Power's Distribution System Operator (DSO). Prior to 2014, the DSO lacked a geographic representation within its crisis management system to better understand the extent of damages affecting its power infrastructure assets during storms and optimize restoration efforts. NB Power identified the need to empower the DSO with improved technology to provide greater insight and geographical context into evolving scenarios during storm events. ArcGIS helps New Brunswick Power improve customer service & prioritize repairs during power outages New Brunswick (NB) Power is a public utility providing power to more than 350,000 customers in New Brunswick and surrounding areas. Several storms in 2013 and 2014 that caused widespread outages across the province led NB Power to review and improve its internal and external power outage communications. In the fall of 2014, NB Power launched an interactive power outage map on its Web site using ArcGIS technology. When a major snowstorm struck New Brunswick in November 2014, the ArcGIS Online-based, scalable power outage map successfully provided outage reports to over 1.2 million site visitors in a 24-hour period. An internal map also helped NB Power prioritize restoration activities more efficiently. 1 Esri Canada | Enhancing power outage communications & restoration with GIS During severe storms, NB Power communicates outage reports on a Web-based map that is automatically updated in 10-minute intervals.

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