2015_TheDistributor_outagecomms (Final)

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32 Issue 3 / 2015 D istribution utilities can never guar- antee uninterrupted power. A heavy storm, a fallen branch, a car accident or even scheduled maintenance can easily down electric lines. While disrup- tions are inevitable, what sets an agile and leading utility apart from the rest is its ability to quickly restore service and minimize outages, improving overall reliability. One of the keys to rapid and effective outage response is efficient internal communication. How does informa- tion flow within the organization? Do Turn the Lights Back on with GIS and Operations Dashboards By Brian Bell, Utilities Industry Manager, Esri Canada staff, managers and directors have an up-to-the-minute understanding of how systems are performing, and what is being done to optimize that performance? Access to real-time, accurate infor- mation about the current state of the utility's network is critical to making intelligent decisions, especially during outages. Many utilities may already have the geographic information system (GIS) technology in place with a long-term vision of enabling this, but often, that goal remains unrealized. GIS is typically used to map a utility's assets and create a spatially accurate digital representation of the transmission and distribution network. Significant advancements in GIS, as well as cloud and mobile technologies, now make it possible for utilities to leverage those investments in cloud-based operations dashboards – accessible from anywhere on any device. GIS can be used to "mash up" information from many systems into a single portal that provides decision- makers across the organization with a holistic view of current system health at a glance. FIGURE A: THROUGH OPERATIONS DASHBOARDS, DECISION-MAKERS CAN SEE CRITICAL INFORMATION SUCH AS THE LOCATION, CAUSES, NUMBER AND SEVERITY OF OUTAGES; THE LOCATION, NUMBER AND CLASSIFICATION OF CUSTOMERS AFFECTED; AND ESTIMATED TIMES OF RESTORATION.

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